KNUTSFORD will be rocking to a new Christmas tune from next Friday, November 30, to next Sunday, December 2.

This year the party starts at 1pm on Silk Mill Street, as the now annual Knutsford Christmas Market opens its canvas doors to eager residents and visitors alike.

Happy Christmas shoppers can browse for gifts from the many crafts and artisan food stalls present and enjoy food and drink from a selection of options, including freshly made pizza, pies, hog roast and Thai food.

As in 2011, the market will take place under cover, in two large marquees situated on Silk Mill Street.

This year, to add some all day fun to the festive weekend – which starts with the market and Christmas lights switch-on and ends with the crib service – Knutsford Town Council is arranging for some children’s mini fairground rides to be situated outside the old Town Hall, at the end of Princess Street.

Town Mayor Vivien Davies says: “This year, as ever, Knutsford Town Council is very keen to ignite the festive spirit in the town with the Knutsford Christmas weekend.

“Starting on the Friday afternoon at 1pm with the opening of the market, it will carry on until Sunday, December 2, when we hold the crib service on Princess Street.

“The market gets better and better every year. This year we’ll have live music from the wonderful Loose Change buskers and lots of hot food and drink to take off the chill, and we can promise candles, cakes, ceramics, fudge, jewell-ery, handbags, slate gifts, Christmas wreaths and even cupcakes for dogs – plus lots more! I, for one, can’t wait.

“This year all the stalls were fully booked weeks in advance and we had to actually turn potential stall holders away! It looks set to be a tremendous event, and we’re all very excited that this annual event simply goes from strength to strength.

“The same can be said for our lights switch-on event. Starting with Santa and his reindeer (real live ones!) parading along King Street at 6.30pm, the festivities move to Canute Place, where we have local choirs and bands, plus performances from local primary schools and Knutsford Academy to entertain the crowd.

“Last year the Knutsford lights switch-on made national news, and even BBC’s Have I Got News For You when a rumour went out that Harry Styles was coming along. Sadly, it wasn’t true, and isn’t this year either. But we’re so proud to have Paralympian and Knutsford resident Niki Birrell coming, along with TV stars Lee Boardman and Jennifer James, patrons of The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust.”

The market was first run in 2010 and results from a conversation between Kate Houghton and Sarah Flannery, who recently stood as the independent candidate in Cheshire’s PCC elections.

It seemed to Sarah and Kate that Knutsford’s retailers were suffering as a result of the economic downturn and that any activities that could bring visitors into the town – where they could experience the delights of independent shops and restaurants – could only be a good thing.

They took their idea for a Christmas market to Knutsford Town Council, which was delighted to support them in their efforts.

Three years later the market has now moved under cover and is bigger and better than ever.

This year Kate and Sarah have been joined by Catherine Firth, who has managed all the stall holder recruitment and budgeting.

With so much going on at the Knutsford Christmas Market this year, be sure to pay a visit with the whole of the family – there’s truly something for everybody to enjoy, and to get you in the mood for Christmas.

KNUTSFORD Methodist Church (KMC), St John’s Church and St Cross Church are all running events to link in with the Christmas weekend’s activities.

The team at KMC are distributing toy sheep to Knutsford’s retailers and restaurants as part of their ‘Sheep and Shop’ treasure hunt, where families can collect a ‘treasure map’ from the church and spend a happy hour searching for each sheep and recording it’s name in the hope of winning a prize. The competition concludes with family activities and free refreshments at KMC, where three real live sheep await them – Baaarbara, Baaarnaby and Baaarnabus.

At St John’s, families can gather for warm drinks and carols from 5pm to 8pm next Friday, November 30, and St Cross is holding a Christmas Tree Festival, involving the schools and many businesses from all over Knutsford.

The church is turned into a magical exhibition space in which perhaps 100 decorated Christmas trees will be displayed.

An entrance fee is charged, with the funds raised going to The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (

Each tree is given by a school group, community group or local business and decorated uniquely to show their personality and special interest.

Many are witty and amusing, others are simply beautiful – but all are totally individual!