ORGANISERS of this year’s annual Christmas Tree Festival in Helmsley are promising it will be the most dazzling yet.

Timed to coincide with the town’s Christmas lights switch-on, a preview evening will take place on Friday, November 29, at Helmsley’s All Saints Church, before it officially opens on Saturday, November 30. It is open daily, from 10am to 4pm, until Sunday, December 15.

The seventh festival features 25 trees which have been decorated by businesses and organisations on a theme, which this year is Christmas Favourites. Entry is free, but donation will be split between St Leonard’s Hospice, All Saints Church and Helmsley in Business.

The town will also take part in Small Business Saturday on December 7, when there will be stalls, tastings and craft demonstrations in the Market Place. All-day parking at the Cleveland Way car park will be £1.50.

Families visiting in December will also be able to take part in a special Beanstalk Window Trail. Tying into Helmsley Art Centre’s pantomime, the trail will take visitors around the town looking for what is hidden at the top of a number of beanstalks.

Anyone correctly finding all the answers will win a small prize. Entry forms can be collected from any of the participating businesses, the Christmas Tree Festival, Helmsley Library or the Helmsley in Business stall on Small Business Saturday.

The events have been organised by Helmsley in Business, which fundraises each year to buy more Christmas decorations, having spent more than £10,000 on new lights over the last few years. The Christmas Tree Festival is organised in conjunction with All Saints Church.

Lynn Hempsall, treasurer at Helmsley in Business and owner of Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop, said: “We know people look forward to the Christmas Tree Festival and it creates a real buzz around town, so we are delighted to announce the details of this year’s event. Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for us to celebrate all the wonderful independent businesses in town, which make Helmsley the magical place it is – Christmas or not.We hope visitors and locals will come and join in all the festive fun, from beanstalk spotting to dads dressed as pantomime dames. We look forward to seeing you.”

The Christmas lights switch-on will take place in the Market Place at 6pm on November 29, before a procession leads the way to the church for the Christmas Tree Festival preview evening at 6.30pm with music, mince pies and a glass of wine. Tickets are £5 each from Porters Coffee Shop and Helmsley Library. Visit