THE 23rd annual Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Around 250 themed decorated Christmas trees will be on show at eight different venues in and around the village next weekend.

Organiser Chris Goodman said: "There is so much happening. We have craft fairs, a weekend mini market, concerts galore, a Santa's Grotto, face-painting, craft demonstrations and free park and ride from IW Pearl.

"There is also lots of musical entertainment and, obviously, the sensational display of Christmas Trees.

"There is something for everybody and it's a great day out for the family. There is free admission to all venues. Donations to charity welcome."

The event opens on Wednesday, December 4, with Light up a Life carol service at St Mary's Church, Brighstone, at 7pm.

The tree lights will be switched on by Nigel Hartley, chief executive of Mountbatten.

Trees will be on show at St Mary's Church, Brighstone Methodist Church, Wilberforce Hall, Three Bishops Pub, The Reading Rooms, Mottistone Church, Isle of Wight Pearl, and the new venue — The Sun Inn, Hulverstone.

Santa will be in his Winter Wonderland at the Isle of Wight Pearl on Saturday and Sunday (December 7 and 8).

Also on those days there will be open air performances of Dickens' Christmas Carol with local actors depicting the classic in and around North Street.

There will be 15-minute performances on Saturday at 10.30am and 2.30pm, and Sunday at 3.30pm.

Free programmes, with full details of all events, including bus timetables, are available at all venues.

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