The Christmas countdown in the Highland capital officially gets under way this Sunday as Santa blows in to help provost Helen Carmichael turn on the festive lights in Inverness city centre.
The excitement will start building from noon in Falcon Square when the Eastgate shopping centre’s Window Wonderland opens, featuring chair swing rides for children and alpine huts selling an array of gifts and goodies from bratwursts to cheese, chocolate and Christmas gifts.
After parking his reindeer on Falcon Square, Santa is scheduled to meet youngsters in his Beauty and the Beast Grotto inside the Eastgate Shopping Centre before making his way to nearby Crown Primary School where he will be joined by the provost and STV’s Nicola McAlley who will be hosting the torchlight procession down Stephen’s Brae to the High Street.
The sale of the torches on the night will be used to support the Inverness Highland Games.
At 5.45pm, after all the marchers are lined up behind the City of Inverness senior and youth pipe bands, the torches will be lit and the procession will head for the High Street.
The Christmas lights will sparkle into life as the procession passes by each section by at around 6pm.
The procession will end outside Inverness Town House when the historic building’s Christmas 2019 colour scheme will be revealed for the first time.
Following the illumination of the Town House, Santa and the Provost will lead families down Church Street for the Ding Dong Merrily Old High carol service which starts at 6.30pm in the Old High Church.
Inverness councillor Bet McAllister said: “The Christmas lights torchlight procession is one of the most popular events in our winter festival programme for the younger members of our community and we are looking forward to creating something really magical for them to enjoy.”
Temporary road closures will be in operation on Sunday evening as the procession makes its way from Crown Primary School to the Town House passing along Kingsmills Road, Stephen’s Brae, Eastgate, High Street, Castle Street and Bridge Street.
In a bonus for motorists, parking at Eastgate on Sunday will be charged at the flat rate of £2, and this discounted rate will be in operation until December 22.