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Diary to avoid event clashes

MAIDSTONE Council is hoping to organise a “no clash” diary for event organisers from 2016. Recent clashes between big

events have left visitors unable to get accommodation, the Town Team’s marketing group meeting heard. The online diary, which will be put to the test over the next few weeks and launched fully in the New Year, is intended to give or- ganisers of all events – however large or small – advancewarning of other events in the area which could coincide. “Some clashes are inevitable, but

this way, people can see what is coming up at any given time and plan their own events accordingly,” said the council’s Laura Dickson. The town’s new culture, heritage

and tourism department is also hoping to compile a library of high- resolution copyright-free images which anyone can access and use as part of their promotional literature.

Charity recital THE Heart of Kent Hospice will benefit by about £11,000 from a charity performance by Maidstone Choral Union at Mote Hall of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. It attracted an audience of more than 500.

Lights just the start of sparkling festive season

The lights are sparkling all over Maidstone in the run-up to the festive season.

With late-night shopping on Thursdays and a dazzling array of weekend entertainment, the county town is hoping its Christ- mas “presence” will rival that of all its regional competitors. Following the excitement of the Christmas lights switch-on by Maidstone’s panto stars and a per- formance by X Factor finalists Alien Uncovered,most of the town centre shops are now open late each Thursday, giving workers the chance to get their gifts while still avoiding busy weekends. Late-night entertainment on

those evenings will include stilt walkers, jugglers, choirs and bands. On Saturdays December 12 and

19, the Town Centre Management has organised a varied programme of music and dance in Jubilee Square, including performances from the Maidstone-based Mandy

Ellen Dance Studios and Vocad- emy.

DickWickenden, who plays sax- ophone under the name Kentish- sax, will perform on December 12, when there will be a surprise flash- mob element to the afternoon’s proceedings, and again on Decem- ber 19. There will also be walkabout en- tertainment for children in Fremlin Walk and traditional festive music on the Sundays leading up to Christmas. The popular Christmas market returns too, with gourmet delights such as bratwurst, churros and crepes. As well as the traditional twin

trees in Lower and Upper High Street, there will be some addi- tional colour being organised by Zoe Sparkle and her team of yarn bomber – look out for some festive knitting appearing on buildings and benches near you.

Christmas sparkle in Jubilee Square, Maidstone

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