HELMSLEY in Business has announced its plans for this year’s festive season.

On Saturday, December 2, local celebrity the Yorkshire Vet, Julian Norton, will switch-on the town’s Christmas lights at 5pm, before the opening of the popular annual Christmas Tree Festival, which this year follows the theme of “Stars”.

As one of the initial supporters of Small Business Saturday in the UK, which also takes place on the same day, Helmsley will be continuing the tradition of promoting its many independent businesses, with lots going on throughout the town to keep visitors entertained on the day, including late-night Christmas shopping.

From 4pm, the town crier will be welcoming visitors, along with music from Swinton Brass Band.

There will be the mulled wine and mince pies, along with a jam jar raffle, tombola stalls and Star Trail throughout the town.

Father Christmas will be opening his grotto in the town hall at 5pm and at 6pm, the town crier will lead the way to Helmsley’s All Saint’s Church for the official opening of the Christmas Tree Festival, which runs until Sunday, December 17.

The Helmsley Arts Centre will also be running the first two performances of its popular annual pantomime – this year Dick Whittington and His Cat – at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Jacky Pickering, who is chairman of Helmsley in Business and also runs The Stick Man with husband Keith, said: “We’re delighted to be carrying on the town’s traditions of celebrating Small Business Saturday with fun and activities in town.

“Linking it in with the lights switch-on, which we’re very excited will be performed by the fantastic Julian Norton, and the opening of the Christmas Tree Festival, means you will be hard pressed to find somewhere more festive on Saturday, December 2, this year.”

Every year since Small Business Saturday launched has seen a Helmsley business succeed in being named as part of the SBS100 – 100 businesses the campaign profiles nationally in the run up to the big day.

This year the accolade was won by Helmsley Wines.

Mal Potter, from Helmsley Wines, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be named as one of Small Business Saturday’s ‘Top 100’ businesses for 2017.

“It is a privilege to be recognised nationally, and this award echos the ethos of Helmsley Wines.

“We are a small independent business with a big heart.

“Our aim is to give our customers the ultimate experience and to keep the high street alive with exciting, quality wines and spirits.

“On Small Business Saturday we will be offering a selection of tasting events in store to thank our loyal and regular customers who have supported us since we opened in November 2013.”

For more information about what is going on in Helmsley during the festive period, go to visithelmsley.co.uk or follow the town on Twitter @VisitHelmsley.