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Night fever hits shops
6:00am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
LATE-NIGHT shopping was a success in Brightlingsea as crowds flocked to the town.
As well as the shops opening late and streets, decorated with colourful lights, there were stalls selling goods, food and holding games for children.
Father Christmas received visitors in his Grotto, and the cast of Peter Pan at Clacton’s Princes Theatre dropped by.
Alongside the festivities was the annual St Helena Hospice Light up a Life service, at St James’ Church, Victoria Place, where residents remembered loved ones who had died.
Far from being a sombre affair, it was a celebration of life, with Captain Hook lighting up the tree during the service.
Organiser Des Rowson, chairman of the Brightlingsea Business Association, said: “This year attendances were up on the already busy previous years, possibly helped by the total closure of the road at Victoria Place, which provided an arena to stage the event in a safe and relaxed manner.”
Festive markets made the trial of Christmas gift shopping that little bit easier in Clacton and Harwich.
A Christmas-themed market with more than 20 stalls was set up in Clacton High Street.
Food, handbags and crafts were available and shops stayed open late.
Father Christmas dropped by to entertain children who could also play on an inflatable bungee ride.
The event was organised by Clacton Town Partnership and chairman Darren Bradwell was pleased with the feedback from customers.
He said: “It was well received by people in the town and everyone said they were enjoying themselves.”
Mr Bradwell is also hopeful shops in the High Street will be given a boost by the market day and it will stand them in good stead for the future.
He added: “Not everyone has time to venture down to the High Street too often, so they may not knowwhat is there.
“If people can find out about more shops, which they use again, then it is really positive.”
Over in Harwich, a market brought a festive buzz to the streets.
Everything from homemade pottery and jewellery to sausages was available on more than 30 stalls lining Kings Head Street.
Father Christmas also paid a visit to entertain children who braved the cold, but bright conditions.
The event was organised by the Harwich Residents Association and spokesman NickMay was happy with how it went.
He said: “It was really good and all the stallholders felt it was worth their time coming down on the day.
“Lots of businesses in and around the area also got more people through the doors, which can only be a good thing.”
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