Helston at Christmas
Helston’s Christmas season officially starts on the last Friday of November (25th in 2016) with the switching on of the Christmas Lights. The lights are strung across the main streets and are well-known for being some of the best in Cornwall.
Switch-on night has a real party atmosphere and attracts crowds from the town and beyond. It includes an evening market with stalls selling everything from jewellery to mulled wine, Father Christmas in his grotto and Helston Town Band who turn out to introduce proceedings and lead up to the countdown. There is a music stage which hosts a variety of acts and there is also music through the streets in the form of local choirs and Samba Celtica. There is also a fantastic firework display to make the evening go with a bang!
The Christmas lights are a big feature of Helston and the committee which organises them works hard all year, testing and maintaining the lights, making improvements to displays and fundraising to keep the lights the ‘best in the west’. https://www.facebook.com/HelstonChristmasLights/
As well as the light switch on, there will be a Christmas Fayre and Lantern Parade on Friday 9th December which will include live and recorded music, market stalls, Santa's grotto and the children's lantern parade. The 16th December sees the now traditional reindeer visit with live and recorded music, sale of hot food and drinks as well as another chance to visit Santa in his grotto. For all you sporty people, there will be a chance to run around Helston dressed as Santa on Saturday 17th December - and this year (2016) you can run even further as there will be two routes; a one mile and a two miler! So get training now and don't forget to register nearer the time.
On the first Saturday of each month, Helston Farmers’ Market sets up its stalls in the Old Cattle Market – but the December one is a real Christmas treat with a special Christmas selection of fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, bread, cakes, juices and dairy products from 9.30am until 1pm. Then, the Saturday before Christmas, there is the Christmas Farmers’ Market where there is outstanding local produce on offer as well as festive music and entertainment.
Also, look out for the acclaimed Hellys Christmas Craft Fair at the beginning of December, with more than 35 stalls showcasing everything from crochet to homeware, chutney to art, accompanied by musical entertainment and twinkling lights. The fair runs from 11am to 4pm.
If you enjoy carol singing, as well as the Christmas light switch on and concerts at the local schools, there is a charity Carol Concert held at the Methodist church by the Rotary Club of Helston on the Thursday before Christmas. This features Cornish Carols by Merritt and Sankey as well as the more well-known carols. There is also a chance to sing these carols at an informal gathering of enthusiasts who meet on Boxing Day in the Blue Anchor pub. Or, you can come into Helston town centre on Christmas Eve to hear Helston Town Band playing some old Christmas favourites.
A further tradition which still exists in Helston is the Boxing Day hunt which meets opposite the Monument at 11am. This is a splendid sight with often as many as 40 huntsmen turning out for the event. And to put your mind at rest – they follow a scent trail.