I'd been in Gibbons Butchers earlier in the day, and Geraldine told me that they would be opening late for the turning on of the Christmas lights, and serving beef and turkey rolls. So that was my first port of call when I went up to join in the festivities. When I got there, I found they were giving out mulled wine as well, and it was quite a festive atmosphere in the shop, completed by the hat worn (I think under protest) by one of the assistants, in the shape of a turkey, covered with sprouts, and with tiny Santa hats on the ends of its legs!
Up in the square, there were crowds, and the marquee was full of people too. The school was there, and several local businesses had tables, including the Cinema Bookshop (with children's books that seemed to be going well), the paper shop with toys, Londis with a hamper and Hay Vouchers, and the Thoughtful Gardener. There were games like Guess the age of the Christmas tree or the name of the soft toy, cakes, chutneys and jams, more mulled wine, mince pies, pancakes - and packets of reindeer food! At one side, one enterprising kid had set up Kai's Comics, selling off his surplus collection, and looking very professional! I started my Christmas shopping at the Fat Man Chili stall.
There was also a stall for Hay Library, manned by the HOWLS (Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters) giving out flyers describing what's happening so far and giving information on who to contact at Powys County Council:
Councillor Graham Brown
Deputy Leader/Cabinet Portfolio Holder
Member Support, Powys County Hall
Spa Road East
Llandrindod Wells, LD1 5LG
There will also be a fun event - Voices for Hay Library - on Sunday 11th December from 4pm to 5pm on the Library Green, corner of Chancery Lane and Brook Street, for carol singing, with free mulled wine and mince pies. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for a library card (an ideal stocking filler!). George the Town Cryer will be there to give a warm (and loud) welcome in Welsh and English at 4pm. And there will be a gazebo, just in case its wet!
Outside the marquee, the Community Choir was singing in the Cheese Market - and then, after a pause for photographs, the big moment. Andrew of 18 Rabbit thanked all the people who had made the evening possible, and then Ben Fogle gave a short speech saying how much he liked coming to Hay, followed by The Countdown. He pressed the plunger - and the lights went on all over town!
After that, the schools choirs sang.
It was a great evening!