THE long wait is nearly over!

This Saturday Father Christmas will arrive in his carriage to switch on the Christmas Lights in Ilkley.

It is two years since he last came to Ilkley and Ilkley Town Council has planned a day of celebration to mark the occasion.

Throughout the day, weather permitting, Ilkley Real Food in conjunction with Bradford Markets will be running a special seasonal market along The Grove. Once again members of the Bradford Concert Band will be bringing festive cheer to the afternoon by providing music on the Bandstand between 1.30pm and 3.30pm. At 3.45pm Nick Babb and Stuart Clarkson of Rombalds Radio pick up the baton and will be hosting an hour of performances by local entertainers, featuring Ilkley Gym Club, Mark Gregory Seasonal Songs and Performance Dance School.

Father Christmas will arrive at the War Memorial Gardens at 4.30pm, ready to start the carriage procession up The Grove at 4.40pm and would welcome children to join him on the route. The Town Crier will make her Christmas declaration at 5.00pm and signal the countdown to the lights switch on. Afterwards, the little people can go and visit Santa in his gazebo, by the bandstand.

Additionally, this year from Sunday, December 5th there will be a Covid Cube of Remembrance; residents and visitors to the town will be encouraged to leave their messages and attach them to the 2m gold-coloured cube, which will sit in Canker Well Gardens.

A spokesperson for Ilkley Town Council said: “With the weather forecast even suggesting a dusting of snow, it should be the perfect afternoon to set the Christmas spirit that has been missing last year.

“Santa is really looking forward to seeing you and yours.”