Dorchester will kick off its festive celebrations tomorrow when the annual Christmas Cracker event returns.

The Snow Sisters and a very special snowman will be turning on the lights at 6.30pm outside St Peter’s Church in High West Street, and there is plenty more fun in store.

Sandy Jordan, from Dorchester BID and the cracker committee, said: "This year, we have a really interesting and diverse number of stallholders, as well as more children's rides and a live band. There will also be a few surprises in store. It's going to be a very festive evening and I'm really looking forward to it."

The Craft Fair returns to the Corn Exchange from 4pm, selling a variety of jewellery, pottery, baked goods and books. Also from 4pm, Father Christmas will take up residence in his grotto at Shire Hall, and churches across the town will be opening their doors at 5pm, warming visitors with mince pies and mulled wine.

A carol singing service will be held in United Church in South Street at 6pm, and the New Hardy Players will be singing some Victorian tunes outside the courthouse.

Led by Town Crier Alistair Chisholm, the lantern parade will leave Brewery Square at 6pm, with lanterns made by groups from Dorchester Youth & Community Centre and Damers First School. The parade will arrive at St Peter's in time for the switch-on, with photos set to be taken afterwards with Santa on his sleigh.

The Ministry of Puppets will be performing in the front window of Frank Herring & Sons in High West Street at 6pm, 6.45pm and 7.30pm. The puppets are from Dorchester Community Church, where they perform on a regular basis as well as at other events in the town.

Most of the town's shops will also be staying open late, perfect for a spot of Christmas shopping, and don't forget to get a free Elfie Selfie at the Wessex FM bus, with costumes provided by Alter Ego Fancy Dress.

South Street and High West Street will be closed from 4.45pm. Free parking will be available in most car parks from 6pm, although County Hall and road parking must be paid for.

For a full list of events, head to