Otley’s Christmas celebrations for 2019 are set to be bigger and better than ever this year – and those pining for a White Christmas, may just see their dreams come true.
The town is set to jettison its traditional multi-coloured festive lighting scheme for this year’s celebrations and replace it with an ice-white lighting display above the historic streets.
The new lighting scheme will be extended to 50 motifs that will decorate Otley’s main thoroughfares, while several areas of the town that were previously unlit at Christmas will benefit from the addition of festive lighting this year. These include the corner of Crossgate and Nelson Street (known locally as the ‘HSBC triangle’), the town’s historic Buttercross and Market Place, and Tittybottle Park by the River Wharfe.
The new festive look will be accompanied by Otley’s usual packed festive events programme with many free of charge, as well as the chance to shop in the town’s independent and national stores.
Events will kick off with the new Christmas Lights Switch-On on Monday November 25 (5.30-7pm, free). The evening will feature the likes of local talent Emeli Mumford, Joseph O’Brien and the Otley Brass Band on stage, as well as fairground rides, an appearance by Santa and street performances.
The following Sunday (December 1, noon-6pm, free) sees the return of the town’s Victorian Fayre for its 34th year. The fayre will include street entertainment, food stalls and shopping outlets, as well as fairground rides and popular games stalls such as hook-a-duck.
From Wednesday, December 11, celebrations move to Otley Paris Church for the annual Otley Christmas Tree Festival launch from noon-6pm. The festival, which then takes place daily from 10am-6pm until Saturday December 14, sees 40 beautiful trees decorated by local societies and charities, as well as performances by local choirs and artists in the beautiful setting of the historic church. Entry is free to the festival but visitors are encouraged to throw a few coins in the fundraising buckets of their favourite tree.
Elsewhere, there will be a Snowman Trail throughout the town from December 1-22 where visitors can follow a special map to find the hidden location of snowmen and help raise funds for former mayor Nigel Francis’s Hang On To A Dream charity.
Popular arts venue Otley Courthouse will have a week-long family Christmas show for the first time this year. Held from Tuesday December 17 to Sunday December 22, Jack Frost – A Joyful Christmas Adventure is a co-production between Fidget Theatre and the Little Mighty Theatre Company with shows at 10.30am on weekdays and 10.30am and 3pm on weekends. Tickets cost £9 for adults and £7 for children.
Those looking for stocking fillers, meanwhile will delight at the range of shopping options in Otley. The town’s cobbled streets are lined with gift shops, artisan food stores, and wine and beer merchants, while three independent butchers are the perfect place to pick up turkey, beef and other meats, mostly raised on local farms.
What’s more, the town’s historic market will be open as usual on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (8.30am-3.30pm) in the run up to Christmas, while Otley Farmers’ Market, from 9am-1pm on Sunday December 22, will see a range of artisanal stalls with produce from the surrounding region.
As an extra gift for shoppers, Leeds City Council car parks in the town will once again be free of charge on Saturdays from November 30… so Visit Otley this Christmas – we’ve got it all wrapped up.