Helensburgh Winter festival promises fun for all the family

Helensburgh Winter Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, with another two days of family fun promising something for all ages and purses.

And charges on all public car parks are being waived for the weekend by Argyll and Bute Council in a bid to encourage visitors.

The festival will, once again, be centred on Colquhoun Square with a festive market offering a wonderful range of gifts and goodies and an international menu of street food.

For the daring and energetic there will be a skating rink and there will also be special skating chairs designed for wheelchair users who fancy a sleigh ride.

Santa will be in his specially constructed grotto in the Parish Church Hall hosted by the Rotary Club of Helensburgh Garelochside and Peninsula Trikes will be offering motorbike trike rides around the town.

There will be a bouncy castle and a Victorian chair o’plane for children and some fascinating techy stuff for the grown-ups (and the children) provided by the Royal Navy bomb squad,

Motorheads will be able to see some full-on horse-power in a display of top of the range new and classic cars on Sunday while four-legged power will be in evidence with the Ayrshire Reindeer who will also be visiting on the Sunday.

The Ghostbusters are coming to Winter Festival and they are bringing lots of slime and other fun things to keep their young fans amused.

The Ghostbusters of North Lanarkshire are a nonprofit charitable organisation who will be running a wee stall with slime testing, Ghostbusters colouring pages for kids and also posing for pictures with their fabulous ghostbusting kit.

SANTA DASH

One of the highlights of the winter festival is the Santa Dash run on the Sunday and attracting up to 300 enthusiastic Santas.

This is an event for all ages and there are even four-legged Santas spotted in the melee!

The event is organised by Helensburgh Round Table as one of its main charity fund-raisers of the year and this year the beneficiary is the Helensburgh and Lomond Food Bank.

A spokesman for the organising team said: “Helensburgh and District Round Table want to make this year’s Santa Dash more affordable, for everyone and particularly for families. Therefore, we have reduced the cost to register to take part.

“The Santa Dash route is the same as last year; the full Dash is approximately 4km – however there is Santa’s Secret Short Cut for younger Dashers and those who want to reduce the distance by half!”

Adult registration is only £6 and children under 16 can take part for £4.

Instead of a full Santa Suit participants will receive a Santa Hat and a wristband that will entitle them to a goodie bag at the finish line.

Registration for the event is online at http://www.santadash2017.eventzilla.net/

Hat and wristband collection times at Helensburgh Swimming Pool are: Friday, December 1 from 6.30pm to 8pm, Saturday, December 2 from 11am to 1pm and Sunday, December 3 from 9.30am to 11am.

STAR LINE-UP

Winter Festival 2017 offers a full programme of entertainment including a number of top class tribute acts.

The fun starts on the stage at 10am on the Saturday with music to get the atmosphere going and at 11am members of the Lomond and Clyde Community orchestra will perform a programme of Festive Favourites.

Singer Sophie Davies will take the stage at noon with a selection of  favourite Disney songs and she will be followed by the children of the Performance Theatre School.

Another local musician Lewis Scobie will have a slot starting at 2pm and at 3pm James McCracken will be bringing Michael Bublé to Helensburgh with his fantastic tribute act.

In another part of the square on Saturday the musicians of the HMS Neptune Volunteer Band will be playing two hour-long stints of amazing entertainment.

The Sunday programme includes James Smart of ScotSoul performing songs from his album Scotland Forever at 2pm, and Richie Hagan bringing his Forever Young Rod, Rod Stewart tribute show to the stage at 2.45pm Other slots will be confirmed.

Throughout the weekend there will be music, games and competitions running between the acts.

MARKET DELIGHTS

This year’s Christmas Market features 80 stalls selling everything you could possibly want to make your Christmas Magic from stocking filler gifts to Festive Jumpers, from fresh fruit, veg, fish and butcher meat to smoked goods, and celebratory drinks.

There will be a mouth-watering variety of street food on offer which will include stone baked pizza, Scottish street food including some amazing new takes on haggis, Indian food, goodies from America’s south, home-made soup, hog roast and a wide variety of more traditional favourites.

PRIZES GALORE

Would you enjoy an overnight stay and use of the spa facilities at Portavadie, four nights at Rosneath Castle Holiday Park, a Cameron House weekend pass or maybe dinner for two with drinks at Sugarboat in Colquhoun Square?

If so you will have a chance of winning one of these real treats if you buy tickets for the Winter Festival Raffle.

These and many other wonderful prizes are on offer and tickets are on sale at various outlets around the town or in the Square during the festival.

This is the first year that a raffle has been run as part of the festival and the proceeds will go towards funding the 2018 event. Tickets are just £1 each and the winner will be drawn on Sunday, December 3 at 4pm.

PENGUIN HUNT

Going shopping and want to keep the kids engaged and entertained? Join in the Winter Festival Penguin Hunt.

A number of paper penguins, designed for the Festival by local primary school pupils and brought to Helensburgh to help Santa at the Winter Festival, have escaped and are hiding out in a number of shops around the town.

Help the Penguin Crew round them up – look out for the special Winter Festival flyer with the Penguin Competition on the back and then use it to record the names of any penguins you find town centre shops or businesses.

If you can find 10 of them take your completed form to the Pet Shop on Sinclair Street and you will receive a small reward for your efforts.

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