Father Christmas will return to Tenby once again this year for the annual festive lights switch-on.
A meeting of the town council’s Christmas Festivities Committee this month, decided that the event should take a similar format to previous years to facilitate further entertainment in Tenby’s town centre on the day.
The committee also decided to consider further ways of giving Tenby more of a ‘wow factor’ over the festive period, to entice people to the coastal town’s shops and businesses in the lead up to Christmas.
Clr. Matthew Ronowitz told his colleagues that he had an idea to further improve festive lighting around the town, but that it would not be cheap, and he was not sure where the funding would come from, but he proposed siting fifteen 4ft and four 7ft Christmas trees along the railings of St. Mary’s Church.
He explained that last year he had several lit and decorated ornamental artificial trees outside his business on Tudor Square which caught the eye and were well received by others in the town.
Clr. Ronowitz said that he’d sound out the the supplier ‘Flowers by Shelley’ for costings provision, should the committee agree to his suggestion.
He added that for a number of years Clr. Mrs. Sue Lane had tried getting businesses involved in utilising the flagpoles they already had outside their premises, so that they could erect a Christmas tree over their entrance.
As well as seeking out costings, he said he would speak to other business owners across the town to garner whether they wished to get involved.
Places like Saundersfoot were deemed ‘spectacular’ over the festive period, and while the new lights in Tenby last year were a success, the Mayor Clr. Mrs. Sam Skyrme-Blackhall agreed that more needed to be done to make Tenby a ‘go to Christmas destination’.
She felt that more decorations and lighting would give an added ‘wow factor’ that Tenby deserved, and put smiles on people’s faces.
The Mayor agreed that all businesses were trying hard at the moment, and it would be nice to bring something extra to the town this festive season.
The committee agreed to put the proposal to the town council and ask if they would consider funding the scheme.
The committee also hoped that shops and business premises would also partake to try and create the same theme from the Five Arches area, all the way round the walled town.
Discussing the arrival of Santa to turn on the festive lights, the town clerk Andrew Davies explained that the Christmas lighting contract stated that the town’s lights had to be on by December 1, or the last Saturday in November, so it was greed that the event would take place on Saturday, November 27, and would be a similar format to previous years with a road closure in place to facilitate entertainment in Tudor Square.
Even though it would be an outdoor event, there was still a legal duty to consider what reasonable measures would need to be in place to protect the public from potential exposure to Covid. Alternatively, the town council could consider not staging the event this year.
The Mayor felt that if a risk assessment of the event was carried out, with appropriate signage in place, and regular announcements to remind people to keep a safe distance, then there was no reason why it should not go ahead.
The town clerk said that he would prepare a risk assessment for the event to include Covid mitigation measures.
Mr. Davies reminded those present at the meeting that following the 2019 event, the RNLI had indicated that they would no longer be able to use the inshore lifeboat to transport Father Christmas into town.
The Mayor said that Sion Brace had indicated that he again would be happy to drive Santa in his sleigh around the estates like last year, and the town clerk said he would contact Tenby RNLI to see how they could get involved with the event in some capacity.
DJ Steve Briers said that he would again be happy to compere the event in Tudor Square, and it was agreed to liaise with other entertainers to see if they would like to get involved again and be part of the schedule.
It was agreed to bring Father Christmas in for the switch-on at 5 pm, and to apply for a road closure from 12.30 pm onwards, so the event could commence at 1 pm.
The De Valence Trust said that they would be in a position to stage the post switch-on grotto and entertainment at the venue on Upper Frog Street.
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