TODAY, Thursday, December 7, marks the start of the annual Christmas Tree Festival at Crediton Parish Church (Holy Cross), regarded by many as the start of their festive season.
The Festival, which usually attracts more than 4,000 visitors each year, includes more than 70 beautifully decorated trees.
It runs until Sunday, December 10 and opening times are from 11am to 6pm today, Thursday and tomorrow, Friday and Sunday, and from 10am to 6pm on Saturday.
You cannot fail to be impressed by the skill and high standard of some of the decorations.
The Honiton Lace Group stall includes delicate lace decorations which are beautiful.
The impressive huge tree near the High Altar is always breathtaking.
During your visit, don’t forget that refreshments will be served in the Boniface Centre from 10am to 4.30pm each day apart from Sunday when the cafe is open from 2pm to 4.30pm.
Light lunches (soup and sandwiches) will be available from Thursday to Saturday while delicious cakes and scones can be enjoyed at any time during opening hours.
Parking and admission is free and there is disabled access to the church and Boniface Centre.
Bridge Books will be in the Boniface Centre with a selection of books and Christmas gifts. In church, you will find the church shop and a bric-a-brac stall.
Once again, Crediton Foodbank will be decorating a tree and visitors are encouraged to take along an item of food to place under the tree.
There is an opportunity for quiet reflection in the Lady Chapel where visitors are invited to place a prayer on the prayer tree.
There are two concerts during the Festival to which everyone is invited.
Tonight, Thursday, December 7 at 7pm, local singing group, Ad Hoc, will present a concert with the brilliant Crediton Youth Orchestra.
Tickets, available at the door at £8 (children free) with a bar in the interval and all proceeds to Hospiscare.
On Saturday, December 10, at 7pm, the Holy Cross Choir will present a varied concert of seasonal pieces with tickets available on the door.
This year, 2023, marks the 20th anniversary of the Christmas Tree Festival.
Anne and Bill Jerman brought the idea back to Crediton after seeing one advertised in Fakenham, Norfolk while they were on holiday.
There were 32 trees at the first Festival and it's been growing ever since.
The organisers are grateful to all the local groups and businesses that decorate the trees and to everyone that volunteers to help run the Festival.
For any further information, queries or to book in a group please telephone Anne on 01363 772865 or email: [email protected] .