IT'S SLOWLY beginning to feel like Christmas is approaching in Stroud.

But by Goodwill Evening - on Friday, December 3 - the town centre will be buzzing with festive joy.

This year's event has received some help through the Build Back Better Market Town fund from Gloucestershire County Council.

The forecourt of the Sub Rooms will have a Christmas Tree while Santa's Grotto will be inside the building for the little ones.

Trees will be dotted around town and shopkeepers are pulling out all the stops to make the evening, and the whole month of December, a joy for customers.

The highlight of the evening will be the lantern procession on the theme of Earth.

Lantern making equipment and artists have been dispatched to schools and there will be free lantern workshops for all at the Baptist Hall in Union Street from 10am to 4pm for the next two Saturdays and Sundays.

Numbers in the hall are limited, so please don't all come on the Saturdays.

The procession begins at the Subs so aim to gather ready for the light switch on with Santa and characters from this year's Sub Rooms panto at 6pm.

The procession will weave its way round town touching base with all the evenings best bits before finishing at St Laurence's Church, where the Christmas Tree Festival is being held.

The Shambles indoor and outdoor markets will be open with food and drink and an eclectic mix of stalls.

Around town there will entertainment of all types including carol singers at the Cornhill, fire juggling, street food, mulled wine and cider and dozens of stalls and shops.

Lansdown Hall hosts a Charities Market from 4pm to 8pm with a bar, festive victuals and entertainment while the Five Valleys Shopping Centre will have street food in Kings Street and a buzzing atmosphere inside.

There will be a window competition for shops while families can take part in a treasure hunt.

Find each Goodwill Earth in shop windows and you could win FREE family panto tickets.

Meanwhile, Conely's fairground will be taking over Fawkes Place car park with rides and games for all ages.