Christmas kicks off in the town today with the annual lights switch-on.
Mayor of Gravesham Mick Wenban will lead a parade of lantern-carrying youngsters, accompanied by brass-band and pipe musicians, from St George’s Shopping Centre, into New Road, along Windmill Street and on to Community Square.
The star cast of this year’s panto at The Woodville, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, will then join the celebrations as the magnificent tree is lit up.
The town’s famous historic clock tower will also brighten up the night sky when it too is adorned in festive lights.
The Santa Dash on Saturday November 21, will help to make room for all the turkey, trimmings and Christmas pudding.
Dressed as Father Christmas, or at the very least wearing Santa hats, participants will complete a 2km course through the town centre and be presented with a medal for their efforts.
The dash will be the climax to a day of sporting activities, including a reindeer rodeo and snowboard simulator, in Community Square. There will also be Santa Spin classes at Cygnet Leisure Centre, Meopham Fitness and Tennis Centre and NRG Gym in New Road, as well as a festive roller disco at Cascades.
Windmill Hill Gardens will be transformed into a winter wonderland on Saturday November 28. A skating rink, lantern-making and snow-globe workshops, music, singing, dancing and a vintage bus will create a magical Christmas feel in the park and nearby Millers Cottage and Windmill Tavern pubs.
The Christmas on the Hill fun will culminate with a candle-lit parade, led by Father Christmas, at 4.30pm, with live music continuing into the evening.
If your stocking isn’t quite full by Friday December 4, pop along to Fayre on the Square.
The two-day market and concert is back, with more than 60 illuminated market stalls offering a fabulous variety of gifts and food.
It will be opened at midday in conjunction with the Mayor’s Carol Concert, and sponsors North Kent College will be showcasing traditional carols sung by schools and community choirs.
There will also be performances from The Voice finalist Jamie Johnson and Britain’s Got Talent golden-buzzer winners Revelation Avenue.
Fayre on the Square will reopen at 10am on Saturday December 5, and there will also be a farmers’ market and an Italian food market in New Road.
And while your taste buds are being tantalised, treat your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of Lady Gaga, Boy George and Madonna tribute acts, all washed down with a headline performance from Dr and The Medics.
Father Christmas will be putting in an appearance on both days in the Secret Garden, and there will also be the annual Christmas Fayre in nearby St George’s Church, donkey rides outside the Tourist Information Centre, and land-train rides along High Street and Windmill Street.
If all the festive fun so far has whetted your appetite, join in the Guinness World Record attempt for the most people in one place wearing novelty head boppers, or deely boppers as they are better known, in Community Square on Friday December 11.
Hundreds of people, young and old, are wanted to gather at 1pm for the record bid, which follows previous attempts at the records for most people in elf hats and festive jumpers.
Head boppers will be provided, and there will be a DJ, dancing, choirs and a reindeer rodeo.
The curtain also rises that day on the pantomime at The Woodville, and it is hoped cast members will take a break to join in the celebrations.
Princesses and superheroes are needed for a magical parade on Saturday December 19. The entire family is invited to get their sparkle on and gather at Community Square at 3pm for the procession led by a horse-drawn carriage, a best-costume competition, carol-singing and story-telling.
Other events being held in the run-up to the big day itself include a Christmas-tree festival, carol-singing performances by Churches Together and Gifted Young Gravesham, Mrs Beeton’s Victorian Christmas and a tour of Gravesend’s Christmas Past by historian Christoph Bull.
For more information, go to christmasingravesend.co.uk