And retailers have joined tourist attractions in a bid to make the town a firm favourite for families this Yuletide.
Bosses have joined forces to organise:
- special town centre events;
- shop promotions and extended opening hours – including Sunday openings;
- Christmas movies at the Hippodrome; and
- Santa Specials on the neighbouring Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway.
Town centre manager Alistair Mitchell said: “Bo’ness will be the place to be this Christmas. There’s so much going on.”
The fun kicks off on Saturday (November 20), with the switch-on of the Christmas lights.
Forth Bridges Accordion Band, the pupils of Bo’ness Public School and Bo’ness Children’s Theatre, will be on hand from 2.15 p.m. to entertain the crowds. There will also be a free mini panto, Beauty and the Beast, performed by the Q20 Theatre Company, and a visit from Santa himself.
The event will culminate in the big switch-on at 4 p.m. in Market Square.
Town Centre Management have also arranged for the Aviemore Reindeer to visit the town on Saturday, December 4. Tiny tots can meet Santa’s special helpers from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will also a prize treasure hunt.
Mr Mitchell said: “This weekend’s big switch-on is always a highlight for local families and I hope lots of people will come down to the town centre to catch some of the entertainment on Saturday. We’ll follow this up with a fun-packed day on December 4, with youngsters getting the chance to meet Santa and the Aviemore Reindeer.”
Traders are playing their part by organising extended opening hours and special offers and promotions over the next month.
Around 25 shops are joining forces to run a late-night shopping event on Thursday, December 2 (with shops opening until 8 p.m.) In addition, shops in Bo’ness will open on Sundays (December 5, 12 and 19) from noon to 4 p.m.
Neighbouring visitor attractions are also hoping to boost footfall.
The Hippodrome Cinema in Hope Street has lined up a series of Christmas and family-friendly films for the holiday season. In addition to big blockbusters like Harry Potter, opening on December 3, film fans will be able to catch a “Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Miracle on 34th Street” on December 11; “White Christmas” on December 12 and 13; “Home Alone” on December 18; and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (December 19, 20 and 24).
The Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway is also running its usual “Santa Steam Specials” each Saturday and Sunday from November 27 to December 19. Sadly December trains are now sold out – and tickets are only available for the end of November. Visit www.srps.org.uk for details or call 01506 824356.
Remember: Kinneil Museum is also open in the run-up to Christmas. Normal opening hours are 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday. The Museum is part of the imposing Kinneil Estate (a great place to have a stroll after all that Christmas shopping).