PREPARATIONS for Blaenau Ffestiniog’s first winter festival are well advanced.

The week long event opens on next Monday. Alpine style chalets have already been erected on the town’s park, and an ice rink is being constructed as is a stage for evening entertainment.

Local crafts people will be selling a wide range of their manufacturers ranging from handmade Christmas decorations and jewellery to goat’s milk soap.

Mrs Ann Coxon, Ffestiniog’s town clerk said: “The festival has been an aspiration which has been talked about and planned for several years. It is being funded by the town council.

“Many local businesses have jumped at the chance to get involved but most of the stalls have already been booked by independent craftspeople and hobbyists. This is a great opportunity to keep Christmas shopping local through buying from producers in our community and to put money back into the local economy. Some local charities have also taken stalls for fundraising

The town council hopes through organising this event to attract people into the town and encourage them to do their Christmas shopping here.”

Hot food available at the festival, including turkey and festive sausages, hog roast, Cypriot products and Kurdish breads and pastries.

The ice rink is equipped with a snow machine and a bubble blower.

Performances will continue throughout the week. On Monday night the stage will open with Faerial Performances fire show and local band Yr Oria.

Tuesday night the stage will be transformed into Blaenau’s Got Talent, with the final round being hosted on Wednesday night with Dilwyn Morgan.

Thursday night is traditionally “Goleuo Stiniog” when the lights in Blaenau are switched on and shops stay open for late night shopping. But as Blaenau Bendigedig did not go ahead with the traditional parade and concert in Diffwys this year, the local choirs and brass band will be putting on concerts in the park. The night will end with all the choirs leading community carol singing.

On Friday night Welsh legend Dafydd Iwan will be drawing in the crowds, with support from the winner of Blaenau’s Got Talent and will be followed by local boys Horizon who will appeal more to the younger crowd with an exciting laser show.

Saturday will warm up with an open mic session in the afternoon followed by Gypsy Jazz duo Rainbow and the 4Ts before Gai Toms a’r Band take to the stage to headline.

Sunday will see a showcase of talent from Ysgol Y Moelwyn’s music department, followed by local band Yr Oria and then bilingual cover band JD and Co before the festival closes with another community carol singing session.

Entry to the festival will be free of charge.