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Enjoy Downpatrick Christmas Lights Switch On With Downtown Radio
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HO! HO! HO!  It’s Christmas time and everyone is preparing for the forthcoming Christmas season and nowhere is more in tune with its festive preparation than Downpatrick, as it makes way for the annual Christkindl Festival, which will run from Sunday 18 November to Monday 24 December 2012.

As children eagerly count down the days to Christmas Eve, Downpatrick is preparing for a visit from Santa on Friday 30 November for the great Christmas Lights Switch-on, which will take place in St Patrick’s Square from 6.30pm. Come along early to meet Downtown Radio ‘s Gary Myles and Kirstie McMurray, as they entertain you with competitions and games while you await the arrival of Santa. St Patrick’s Square will come alive with characters from ‘A Christmas Carol’ which will include some of Ireland’s leading stilt performers as they weave through the crowds.

Dearbhla Fitzsimons (6) and James Marks (7) from Downpatrick bring Santa to illuminate the Christmas Lights as part of the Christkindl Festival. The Christmas Light switch-on will be on Friday 30 November from 6.30pm, and will be hosted by Downtown Radio’s, Gary Myles and Kirstie McMurray.

The shops will be decorated with the Christmas Carol theme and free face painting by the local Art and Design students from Downpatrick South Eastern Regional College will be available to create a real buzz and charm in the county town.

Watch out for a magical lantern parade including children from Our Lady and St Patrick Primary School and the Downpatrick Scouts of Ireland who will be accompanied by the Downpatrick Hospitals Pipe Band and our Victorian Carol Singers and characters from Christmas Past, Present and Future aka Art and Design students from the South Eastern Regional College in Downpatrick, and if you’re really good, Santa will be on cue to switch on the beautiful Christmas Tree.

As well as this fabulous event, there will be a host of other seasonal activities to entertain you and all the family, right through to the big day. Remember to book your visit to Santa’s House at Castle Ward on 028 4488 1204 or your visit to the Christmas pantomime, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ in The Great Hall by contacting Down Arts Centre on 028 4461 0747.

Downpatrick and County Down Railway will operate their magical Lapland Express on Saturday 1 December and every Saturday and Sunday until Sunday 23 December from 2pm – 5pm. Children will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus on board his steam train, visit www.downrail.co.uk for more information.

Other great free events are Christmas Carols at The Cafe (Daisies Cafe in the St Patrick Centre on Saturday 1 December ) when you can hear the fantastic Voices of Lecale, or book the children into the free Screening of ‘A Christmas Carol’ on Thursday 6 December at 7.30pm by phoning 028 4461 2233. The Eclipse Cinema is also hosting a free Christmas Mystery Movie on Monday 24 December at 10.00am so contact 028 4461 6777 for more information.

Saturday 8 December also heralds ‘Christmas at the Old Gaol when you can find out about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, contact 028 4461 5218 for more information.

Down Cathedral will once again hold a community carol service on Monday 24 December at 7.30pm, leading up to the Community Carol Service at 11.30pm. For more details contact 028 4461 4922.

(Please note that due to an error in the festival programme the following events should read as follows and not as displayed in the festival programme:-

Friday 21 December – Christingle Carole Service in Down Parish Church at 5pm

Monday 24 December – Free Christmas Mystery Movie in Eclipse Cinema at 10am

Monday 24 December – Community Carol Service in Down Cathedral at 7.30pm

Monday 24 December – Midnight Communion in Down Cathedral at 11.30pm

For further information on the full range of events across the district, contact Downpatrick Tourist Information Centre on 028 44612233 or visit

www.downdc.gov.uk | www.facebook.com/DownFestivals.