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Find that special gift at our local markets.

EVEN in times of financial strain, Christmas means entertaining and the exchange of gifts. This year at our many local farmers' markets there is an opportunity to contribute to our own local community's survival and prosperity by purchasing the excellent locally produced foods for our tables - and buying presents made by local people.

It always adds something special to a gift to know the person who crafted it - and gifts of nicely presented food as well as useful hand-made articles will be much more welcome than something mass-produced and imported.

Hexham

Hexham's Christmas starts this year on Friday November 28, with the official switching on of Hexham's lights, heralding seasonal late night shopping with more street entertainment than ever before.

Special events on Thursday, December 4 include a travelling fairground with rides and stalls in the Market Place, accompanied by the sounds of a traditional 17ft long barrel organ.

Catering for all age groups, on December 11 there will be rowing and fitness challenges in the Shambles, run by North Country Leisure. The Hexham Community Choir will be in full voice and there will also be a roving New Orleans-style jazz trio.

On December 18, Churches Together in Hexham invite everyone to join them in a candlelit procession through the town into the Market Place to gather for carol singing.

South Shields

The Festive Arts and Crafts Market returns to the borough on December 4 from 10am until 4pm. Held in a marquee in the market square, there will be a fantastic range of distinctive gifts from chocolate to organic food to jewellery, cards, paintings and complementary health products.

Blyth

The opening of the market on Blyth's newly refurbished town square will be the latest development in the multi-million-pound scheme to improve the town centre.

Stall holders resumed trading on the marketplace on November 7 having previously kept the market going on a temporary basis at the Keel Row car park.

In January 2008 the marketplace was closed to the public as work started on the pounds 3m redevelopment scheme, which has been funded by Blyth Valley Borough Council, the Northumberland Strategic Partnership, Northumberland County Council, One North East and SENNTRi.

Old paving was dug up, recycled and replaced by sandstone slabs and the square was lined with special trees imported from Holland.

In the summer the region's latest piece of art, Hyperscope, commissioned by Inspire Northumberland was installed. The artwork will be complete in time for the grand launch of the marketplace in March 2009.

Councillor Grant Davey, who is responsible for regeneration in Blyth Valley said: "We are opening the market before we put the finishing touches to the square so that traders have the use of the space during the busy time leading up to Christmas."

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FESTIVITIES Local markets such as this one in Hexham are ideal for finding special gifts.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 12, 2008
Words:476
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