Festive family fun in Lowestoft

HUNDREDS of hardy shoppers braved the cold last weekend as they headed to Lowestoft town centre to take advantage of free parking – and enjoy a special festive event aimed at families.

The Christmas Family Fun Day was arranged by the Lowestoft Town Management Partnership, with funding support from Suffolk county councillors Colin Law, Kathy Gosling and Mary Rudd.

There was festive fun for all the family, including a rodeo reindeer, a snowboard simulator, bouncy castle and a bungee run.

The event opened with a special appearance by Santa Claus before he headed back to his Grotto at Godfrey's Department Store; and the entertainment also included Christmas music and characters, balloon modelling and face painting.

By 11am, cars were queuing to get into all town centre car parks and, despite the cold weather, it seemed many people had decided to Shop Local in support of The Journal's campaign backing Lowestoft's traders.

Lowestoft town centre manager Emma King said: 'We were delighted that there were so many people in the town centre on Saturday, supporting the local retailers with many families enjoying the free attractions.'

In a further festive boost, the town management partnership has persuaded Waveney District Council to provide a further free parking day from 10am on Monday, December 27, giving an opportunity to catch early sale bargains.

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'Lowestoft town centre has over 40 major retailers as well as ample car parking situated close by. It seems that with the weather rather unpredictable people are taking the opportunity to shop nearer to home, which not only saves them a great deal of time travelling and city parking charges, but, with such a wide range of retailers in Lowestoft, most items are available much closer to home than people may think,' said Ms King.

The festive campaign this year has been supported by cast members from Lowestoft's big Christmas pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, at the Marina Theatre, and plans are now being drawn up for events throughout 2011, all designed to support town centre retailers.