East Ren’s countdown to Christmas starts this weekend

Above: The cast of King's Theatre panto Snow White will be donning their costumes for a visit to The Avenue this Sunday. Below: Giffnock Village promises bigger and better on last year's lights switch on
Above: The cast of King's Theatre panto Snow White will be donning their costumes for a visit to The Avenue this Sunday. Below: Giffnock Village promises bigger and better on last year's lights switch on

Brace yourselves — the first of the festive cheer arrives in East Renfrewshire on Saturday.

Glasgow’s big Christmas Lights Switch On (Sunday) may be ticketed, and only for those lucky enough to have won the ballot — but all are welcome along to events in Giffnock and Newton Mearns.

Giffnock Village says save the date for Saturday (November 14), with performances from local groups and a visit from Santa planned at the RBS car park and Whole Foods ground level car park.

The event is a countdown to the Christmas tree lights going on and a spectacular fireworks display, with the fun running from1-5pm.

Giann Celino, chair of the Business Improvement District (BID) group Giffnock Village, told The Extra: “We have a few events throughout the year, and this one in particular brings the whole community together to celebrate the countdown to Christmas.

“More than 6,000 people came along in 2014, and we’re hoping for an even bigger turnout this year.

“We’d like to say particular thanks to the RBS and Whole Foods branches for hosting us this year, allowing us to welcome even more to Giffnock’s Christmas lights switch on.”

Over at The Avenue, the annual Christmas fair takes place Saturday and Sunday. The centre welcomes revellers 10am-5pm each day for festive shopping and food — and on Sunday, from 2.30pm, it’s up to comedian Des Clarke to push the button on Christmas 2015.

Des will be joined by fellow King’s Theatre cast members Jenny Douglas and Allan Jay for a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-themed countdown to Christmas, with Santa arriving to open his grotto at 3pm, and then lights up at 4pm.

Michelle McCabe, centre manager, added: “Glasgow boyband Rewind will also perform on stage, and there will be free facepainting and caricatures, competitions, offers and freebies on the day with family tickets to see the panto up for grabs.”

The fun finds its way to Clarkston next Saturday (November 21) for the annual Winter Extravaganza — see next week’s Extra for more info.

Also in this week’s paper:

Rouken Glen Garden Centre raised £1,200 for Cancer Research at the first of two recent Christmas nights — and the next falls on Wednesday (November 18).

The Giffnock centre laid on a hot buffet, mulled wine and discounts on festive purchases for around 500 guests buying tickets for £3.

There were food demonstrations, a tombola and competitions, including a Facebook selfie contest, with a 3ft tall cuddly polar bear up for grabs.

Winner Andrea Campbell said: “My daughter had her heart set on that polar bear and I couldn’t let her down — all my friends and family helped with the Facebook likes, so I want to say thank you to them. My daughter is made up!”

The next Christmas night takes place Weds (November 18), kicking off at 6pm — tickets available in store on at the door.

Braving the cold? Send your Christmas event pics to gillian.loney@jpress.co.uk or share them on Facebook or Twitter and they could be included in next week’s paper.