Village prepares for festive takeover

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A rural Coquetdale village is hoping to attract the crowds this year with a special winter celebration which includes the building of a skating rink.

Local businesses, community organisations and church groups have come together in Rothbury to create a special seasonal festival for all the family.

The inaugral Rothbury Christmas Festival is due to take place on Saturday, December 5 ,throughout the village centre.

Preparations for the event stated last month when the Rector, Rev Michael Boag, noticed an absence of the Christmas story on this year’s Christmas cards.

That discovery eventually led to the village organising a crib exhibition, which will take place throughout the village over the festival weekend, and the design of first ever Rothbury Christmas card.

“Last year, our Christmas Tree Festival saw 60 decorated trees in the church and well over 1,000 visitors,” he said.

“This year we think there will be something like 80 crib scenes all over the village as well as in the church. People’s creativity in interpreting the Christmas story is astonishing – I’m not giving away any surprises but visitors will find a great deal to entertain them.”

This gave birth to the idea of holding a special two-day festival with live music, a Christmas craft and gift market, a fun fair and an outdoor skating rink.

Stall holders will be offering a range of art, craft, photography, food and gifts from all over the region, and will be joining local makers at the market in the heart of the village.

But the thing that has really got Rothbury talking is the imminent arrival of a skating rink.

Rothbury Parish Council chairman Mark Gilson said “I am very excited about the festival. It’s exactly what Rothbury needs and it has my full support.

“I am especially looking forward to seeing everyone having a good time on the rink. It’s going to be wonderful.”

The rink, which will be located on the Haugh car park, will be open from 10am to 4pm each day.

Tickets are £5 for 30 minutes and include the hire of the skates. The service is being provided by Starlite Entertainments of Blackpool.

With more than 20 years’ experience, these veterans of the mobile skating rink industry are looking forward to visiting Northumberland for the first time.

Because of the popularity, the tickets will need to be booked in advance at www.eventbrite.co.uk and search Rothbury Christmas Festival Skating Rink.