VISITORS are being encouraged to experience the ‘magical medieval spirit’ of Dunster as the village turns back time and lights its ancient streets with candles during the weekend.
The annual Dunster by Candlelight event starts at 5 pm tomorrow (Friday) until 9.30 pm and again from 4pm to 9.30 pm on Saturday.
Giant stiltwalkers will cast eerie shadows as they lead a procession to hang lanterns around the town.
Clowns, carollers, Morris dancers, jugglers, and traditional entertainers will make merry throughout the village.
Television wildlife celebrity Johnny Kingdom will be signing books about Exmoor, and the Exmoor Zoo will show off exotic ‘Wonders from around the World’.
There will also be warm punch and hot chestnuts baked on open braziers for outdoor comfort, hotels and pubs providing a warm welcome to visitors, while Dunster’s wide variety of shops display an excellent selection of Christmas gifts.
West Somerset Council events manager Jill Homewood said: “This is a firm favourite on local people’s calendars, and those visiting for the first time will be charmed by the magic of Dunster by Candlelight.
“The village is steeped in history and, lit by candles, it brings a warm traditional perspective to Christmas shopping that is often missed on the high streets.
“It is a fantastic, old-fashioned festive event for all the family.”
Father Christmas, choirs, Victorian merry-go-rounds, and a host of other activities make it an event not to be missed.
Street collectors and entertainers will be raising funds this year to support St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice, which provides free care, advice, and support to people in West Somerset who have been diagnosed with an illness that is no longer responsive to curative treatment.
Programmes cost £1 and have been on sale since October in the Dunster shops, and on the Candlelight nights they will be on sale at the top of the steps as visitors step off the park and ride bus.
Programmes can also be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and marking the subject as ‘Dunster by Candlelight’.
A park and ride scheme, which includes wheelchair-friendly travel options, will run from Vulcan Road Car Park, in Minehead, at a cost of £2.50.
Dunster’s village car parks will be closed after 3 pm on the Candlelight days, due to the event’s popularity.
The West Somerset Railway is again running special trains each Candlelight evening from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead, stopping at Dunster.
Information on any remaining train seats can be obtained by calling the WSR information line on 01643 704996.
More information is available by visiting http://www.dunsterbycandlelight.co.uk/.