ILKLEY is making a big push to help its traders this Christmas with a spectacular Christmas Market and events planned in November and December, beginning with a lights switch-on extravaganza in The Grove.

Last year’s switch-on was cancelled at the eleventh hour due to severe weather warnings so organisers are hoping this year’s lights festival will go smoothly when it takes place on Saturday, November 26.

As well as an eye on the weather, the town council has its an eye on the economic difficulties affecting all shops and businesses and is hoping more people than ever will go along and support the traders throughout the season.

Switch-on festivities begin early in the afternoon with a big build up by regular hosts Stuart Clarkson and Nick Babb, of Rombalds Radio who will be introducing the entertainment. There will be a season market as well as live music and a much anticipated Santa’s parade and grotto.

The next big Christmas event will be the Real Food Market on December 18. This is in addition to their regular monthly markets and stalls have already sold out.

Lucy Allan, from Real Food Markets said: “The markets are very popular and we have had some traders with us from day one. The Ilkley Christmas Market has grown over the past six or seven years and is a fantastic event. It provides a platform for traders and brings business to shops and other businesses in the town, as well as being something for residents and visitors to look forward to.

Ilkley BID had its meeting this week to finalise its Christmas plans. They include a ‘Discover Ilkley’ App Christmas trail from November 22 to December 31. There is also a Loyal Free All Quizmas Lyric Trail from December 1 to January 1 and an Elfie Selfie competition.

An Ilkley BID spokesman said more details will be highlighted in the coming weeks but the excitement was already building for a spectacular Christmas.