He arrives fresh from the North Pole on at 11am Thursday, December 4, when he will be met by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Beverley Baker, at his glittering snow-covered new base in the Middle Level of the Darwin Shopping Centre.
There he’ll take up residence ready to welcome young visitors who can hand over their wish-list of presents, pick up a great early gift and also have their pictures taken with him.
Father Christmas will be there from Thursday through to Sunday every day from 11am to 4pm and Shrewsbury and Darwin Rotary Clubs will be ensuring everything goes as smoothly as a sleigh ride for him and his band of helpers.
Starting from this week the grotto will be open on the busy Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays leading up to the big day and it will stay open on Monday and Tuesday, December 22 and 23, before Santa heads back to the North Pole to prepare for Christmas Eve.
This year the Grotto will be located on the centre’s mid level and a team of artists led by Shrewsbury Shopping Centres Community Co-ordinator Maggie Love have again produced a spectacular setting for Santa.
She said: “We’ve really gone to town on it with special materials so it’s well worth a visit – I think it really has the wow factor.
“There are two quite different things going on, the very traditional grotto where Santa sits and Winter Wonderland tunnel where we have spent a lot of time creating something really special.”
For just £5 – £3 for under-3s – youngsters will get to chat to Santa, be handed a fabulous pre-Christmas present of a toy suitable for their age and also have the chance to be snapped alongside him.
Outside the grotto will be a 50p lucky dip where they can pick up smaller toys.
Proceeds from the grotto will be shared between charities nominated by the Rotary Clubs and Rotarian Bobbie Fisher, Grotto Organiser, said: “The Rotarians have volunteered to help as Elves while Santa is here in Shrewsbury and Inner Wheel members have been wrapping the presents.
“The funds raised will go to a number of charities including the Severn Hospice and Shrewsbury Homes For All and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun for everyone.”
Maggie Love added: “It’s very exciting to see Santa back in Shrewsbury again this year.
“We and the local Rotarians have been working hard to ensure the Grotto looks attractive and welcoming for everyone who comes along to pay a visit and we are very grateful to them for all their efforts.
“It all looks really incredible this year and will certainly help get people into the Christmas spirit and the toys Santa will be handing to the children will be really fantastic.”
Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “We’re pleased to be able to play host to Santa once more, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Grotto and I’m sure it will give a lot of pleasure to lots of children.”
Details of Shrewsbury’s Christmas Cracker events are on the website http://www.shrewsburychristmascracker.co.uk and for more on what’s happening at the Shrewsbury Shopping Centres go to http://www.shrewsbury-shopping.co.uk/