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What's on in Ross-shire – A guide to some of the events coming up across the county

By Hector MacKenzie

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Dingwall Academy Christmas Fair

Dingwall Academy seniors getting ready for the Christmas fair. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Dingwall Academy seniors getting ready for the Christmas fair. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Dingwall Academy are to host their biggest Christmas Fair yet on Friday December 1.

The fair, taking place from 6–9pm, will have more than 130 stalls with refreshments, entertainment, Santa’s grotto and a lot more.

Some of the food said to be on offer includes crepes, soup and lots of home baking.

The event will even include free live music and entertainment from Dingwall Academy’s very own pupils.

There’ll be a Santa’s Grotto, refreshment area, raffle, bottle stall, free activities for pre-school children and lots of shopping opportunities as a way to supporting local businesses during the festive season.

The fair is being organised by the Parent Council and the pupils.

Raffle prizes include Belladrum weekend tickets for two adults, a Ross County family ticket and tickets for Highland Wildlife Park.

Funds raised from the fair will be spent expanding employability activities.

The school is currently working with Mears to provide a workshop space for STEM activities and vocational training.

Gingerbread competition

Plockton and District Horticultural and Arts and Crafts Society are hosting a Gingerbread House Competition on Saturday, December 9.

Gingerbread competitors can enter solo or as a group, but all entries must be completely edible. The entries will be judged in two categories, House, and Anything but a House.

There will be prizes for the best entries, with winners chosen by a public vote being announced at 3.30pm on the day.

The event is taking place at the Plockton Village Hall, with entries being taken from 11.30am–1.30pm, and door open to the public from 2–4pm.

Celebration of songs

The Dolphin Arts Project and Ullapool Community Choir, Three Sheets to the Wind, are holding a celebration of special songs and their stories, on Sunday, December 3.

The Ullapool-based Dolphin Arts Project supports people living with dementia with creativity, and the group have been busy turning old books into sculptures, setting the stage for their favourite chosen songs, and for the stories behind them to be shared.

The event is taking place at the Ceilidh Place Venue, at 3pm, with free admission and refreshments provided.

Dingwall panto stage is set

Dingwall Players rehearsing for the panto. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Dingwall Players rehearsing for the panto. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Dingwall Players bring The Wicked Witches of Oz by Peter Nuttall to the town next week.

The eagerly anticipated panto is an adaptation of Frank Baum’s evergreen Wizard of Oz and as such has many of the characters you would expect – along with a few surprises, lots of audience participation in the shape of booing and, of course, singing.

It promises, The Players tell us, “goodies and baddies, music and songs, a talking animal, bad jokes and colourful costumes”.

The Players are once again in Dingwall Town Hall and hoping to perform to full houses, as they did last year with Santa in Space.

Once again the show is directed by Allan Thomson. Performances are on Thursday, December 7, Friday 8th and Saturday 9th at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £10 and £6 for children/concessions and can be booked now at www.dingwallplayers.org

Creel tree and Ullapool festive lights switch-on

Ullapool Winter Lights Switch On by Steven Gourlay Photography ltd..
Ullapool Winter Lights Switch On by Steven Gourlay Photography ltd..

An imaginative Wester Ross Christmas creel tree that turned the head of Harry Potter creator J K Rowling will again be the centrepiece of the surrounding community's festive lights display.

Ullapool's Creel Tree has captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike, inspiring a number of copycat creations across the country.

The Ullapool Fire and Light community group is behind the winter lights display which aims to warm hearts at a colder time of the year and attract visitors off-season.

Ullapool Fire and Light has signalled this year's switch on, at the creel tree, will take place on Friday, December 1 at 5.30pm.

Ullapool's annual Christmas Tree Festival is due to return for its fourth year, coinciding with creel tree lights switch-on.

The quirky event, held in the Church of Scotland on Mill Street, sees entries of extremely creative one-of-a-kind trees from many local residents and community groups.

Beach tree by Ullapool Sea Savers.
Beach tree by Ullapool Sea Savers.

Organiser of the event, Mike Newman said: "The festival aims to bring light, joy, awe and wonder to all those who visit, and over the years our usual attendance figures hover around the 800 mark. Some folk visit again and again, especially in the later afternoon when it is dark outside and the interior of the church glows with hundreds of twinkling lights."

The festival is open from noon–6pm daily from December 6–17, at the Lochbroom and Ullapool Church of Scotland on Mill Street.

To enter a tree into the festival before December 3, get in touch with Mike Newman on ullymike@me.com

If you have a community event to share with us, email a short summary, including a suitable photograph if appropriate, to hector.mackenzie@hnmedia.co.uk

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