With the Christmas lights switched on last Saturday (17 November), Reading is gearing up for a busy Christmas season with an exciting Christmas events programme, Magical Christmas in Reading starting this weekend funded by Reading Business Improvement District (BID) with support from Reading Borough Council.
Every year since the creation of the town centre BID in 2007, Reading’s business community has funded one of the most spectacular Christmas lights displays in the south east, with 400,000 LED lights and a photogenic giant bauble Christmas tree bringing a festive feel to the town centre.
This year, with additional support from Reading Borough Council and Reading UK, Reading is investing in the most exciting Christmas events programme Reading has seen for many years. Magical Christmas in Reading starts this weekend with a double header – a giant free family show, Big Blue, in Broad Street on Saturday 24th and a festive art market, Artline, on Sunday 25th. The programme also contains two free family events on Station Forecourt in December, shadow puppets shows, an alternative pantomime and 24 days of free pop up events in the town centre throughout December ranging from choirs to comedy, theatre and camp craziness. All of this in addition to the Hexagon pantomime, new Christmas shows, the Civic Carol Services and Special Shopping Evening.
Nigel Horton Baker, Executive Director of Reading UK, which runs the Business Improvement District, said: “Magical Christmas in Reading will make sure Reading continues to attract Christmas shoppers and revellers throughout the run up to Christmas. This period is such a vital time for shops and restaurants in Reading, particularly with retailers facing such a tough economic time at the moment. We have increased funding this year to support the sector with a strong marketing campaign for Christmas throughout the region and an added value events programme to ensure that Reading continues to be on the number destination for Christmas in the Thames Valley.”
Reading Borough Mayor Cllr Debs Edwards said: “Christmas is a wonderful time of year and I can think of no more magical place to spend it than Reading. The Town Centre will be alive with fun activities and free entertainment for all the family to enjoy, so there is no reason not to come for the shopping and stay for the day!
“I’m particularly looking forward the Big Blue Family Show and Parade and the display throughout December outside the station forecourt, which I am personally really proud of as a young family member has been involved in making of the squid! Alongside the usual Panto fun at the Hexagon and an unrivalled choice of shops and eateries to choose from, there really is no better place to be over the festive period.”
Graham Mountford, Chair of Reading BID and General Manager of Broad Street Mall, said: “I am really excited to see the plan for Christmas 2018 come together. Christmas is a vital period for businesses in Reading town centre and I am pleased to see the BID using its contacts with the Council and the arts to pull together a terrific programme of events which will attract people to Reading.”
More information on Reading’s Christmas offer can be found in the Magical Christmas in Reading guide and online at www.magicalreading.co.uk and on social media @livingreading