IF CHRISTMAS just isn’t Christmas without snow, a trip to downtown Faro may just provide the solution.
Faro Câmara, in conjunction with the Associação de comércio e serviços da Região do Algarve (ACRAL), the shop owners and services association of the Algarve, is organising a programme of Christmas attractions to get you in the festive mood, and yes, they are even promising snow!
Every day between 4pm and 6pm from December 15 to 24, visitors to the downtown shopping area of Faro will be able to experience their very own white Christmas, thanks to some rather special effects!
Shoppers will be given the royal treatment this year with the laying of nearly 2,000 metres of red carpet along the principal pedestrianised shopping streets, which include the popular Rua de Santo António and Rua Tenente Valadim, among others.
The Christmas lights in Faro will be switched on from November 25, bringing Christmas cheer to the city centre and major streets, as well as in the parishes of Montenegro; Patacão; Bordeira; Conceição; Estoi; Santa Bárbara de Nêxe; Gorjões and Culatra until January 8. The investment in Christmas lighting totals 126,737 euros this year.
For the fourth consecutive year, Faro will find itself invaded by little Father Christmasses! This heartwarming event brings together hundreds of children from Faro’s primary schools, nurseries and various associations to parade through the streets dressed as Santa Claus.
Providing quite a spectacle, the event attracts large crowds every year. After the parade, the children congregate at Jardim Manual Bivar in front of the harbour to sing Christmas songs.
This year’s parade promises to be bigger than ever and is being supported by the Direcção Regional de Educação do Algarve, the regional department for education of the Algarve.
Still on the subject of Santa, to encourage children to practice their writing skills, cards will be distributed to all primary schools in the borough for children to write Father Christmas a letter.
In addition, a grotto will be erected in downtown Faro for children to come and have their photos taken with the man himself from December 1 until December 24.
Meanwhile, there will be a varied programme of street entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, including music and song.
To highlight the true origins of Christmas there will an exhibition of nativity scenes by local artists in Jardim Manuel Bivar, commencing on December 11 and continuing until Christmas Eve. Work by school children from the borough will also be displayed. To act as an incentive to bring people to the traditional downtown shopping area and boost sales, this year shoppers are offered the chance to win a Ferrari experience.
One lucky person will win a trip to Italy, including five star full-board accommodation and the opportunity to experience the adrenaline of driving a Ferrari (three different models to be precise).
The holiday also includes a limousine service and several excursions. To participate, the public must make a purchase in any participating downtown store, where they will be offered an entry form for the prize draw.
As in previous years, the opening hours of the stores in downtown Faro will be extended. On weekdays the shops will be open from 10am to 8pm and on Saturdays and public holidays from 10am to 1.30pm and from 3pm to 8pm and on Sundays from 3pm to 8pm, with the exception of Christmas Eve when the opening hours will be 10am to 6pm.