Magherafelt’s popular Speciality Christmas Market will begin its three-day run in the town centre later today.
It’s now become one of the largest outdoor markets in Northern Ireland and large crowds are expected for the event which has been re-located from its traditional venue in the Market Yard to Market Street.
It will run over three days from Friday, starting 6pm, until Sunday afternoon.
Traffic diversions have been in place since yesterday to allow stall holders to get organised.
In previous years thousands of people from surrounding towns and further afield flocked to the south Derry town to enjoy what is regarded as one of the Council’s flagship events.
Organisers are hoping to exceed last year’s 16,500 visitor numbers, which they estimated to have generated £288,750 for the local economy.
As an incentive to visitors, the Council has arranged free car parking in the pay and display car parks until Sunday.
More than 35 food and drink traders will be present, including the Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Co-Op (Eels), Comber Potato growers, Indian Nights Inn, Mange Tout and Sweet Sensations and Papa J’s.
There will also be live entertainment with bands including ‘Rightly On’ and Limavady Big Band as well as local school children.
On Saturday the Christmas lights will be switched on . There’s a line-up of festive fun (starting 7pm) with prize giveaways an appearance from Santa and an illumination of the sky with a fanfare of fireworks.