Festive fun will fill Malmesbury’s high street on Friday with an evening of free entertainment and late night shopping, despite the recent wet weather.

The town’s Christmas lights will be switched on at 6.15pm by the Earl of Suffolk, followed by the arrival of Father Christmas fifteen minutes later.

An eclectic mix of stallholders, including Fat Buddha’s Cafe, HEALS, the Stencil Shed and the Cotswold Pudding Co, will grace the streets throughout the evening until 9pm.

Entertainment will include carol singers, bell ringers, musicians, street entertainers and a brand new grotto for Father Christmas.

Paul Baker, chairman of Malmesbury and District Chamber of Commerce, said: “In keeping with the theme ‘Think Local, Buy Local’ over 30 exciting Christmas market stalls will sell wonderful gifts such as gingerbread, local sparkling wine perfect for the Christmas season, home-made pickles, jams, chocolates, chilli oil, works of art, Christmas decorations and trees, captivating photographs of this historic town, vintage gifts and much more.

“Visitors will also receive a warm welcome from local traders keeping their doors open late with everything you need to get your Christmas shopping list all wrapped up.

“Refreshments and snacks will be on hand to keep you warm and at Leonard Walker’s barbecue all proceeds will be donated to the charity SANDS.

“Malmesbury and District Chamber of Commerce is proud to organise this very popular event and look forward to welcoming visitors from Malmesbury as well as surrounding villages and towns.”

A free park and ride bus will run between Malmesbury Garden Centre and Cross Hayes throughout the evening, courtesy of Andy James and the garden centre.