SION Corn – the Welsh Santa Claus – has been checking out the quickest way to reach Llangollen when the town stages its annual Christmas Festival this Saturday November 30.

Thousands of seasonal revellers are expected to come flocking to the Denbighshire tourist spot for the big event.

As Sion Corn will be starring in the traditional parade and wants to make sure he’s there in good time on the day he’s been trying out various modes of travel over the past few weeks.

And he reckons that by far the quickest way of reaching Llangollen from his home in the Far North is aboard the Wales Air Ambulance helicopter which the festival is once again this year raising funds to support along with local groups in the town.

So the he went along to its base near Welshpool to check it out.

“Apart from its fantastic range of lifesaving equipment and its dedicated crew, both medical and pilots, I was very impressed with how fast it can reach its patients,” Sion Corn said.

“If it can be on the scene of an emergency so rapidly it shouldn’t take long at all for it to whisk me and my helpers across to Llangollen on the big day.

“My trip aboard the helicopter also convinced me the Christmas festival couldn’t be supporting a worthier cause.”

The Llangollen Christmas Festival parade, which sees Sion Corn being escorted into town over the historic bridge by a colourful cavalcade of entertainers and local groups, starts at 1pm on this Saturday.

It will stop at Llangollen Town Hall where there will be children’s fairground rides, food stalls, choirs, craft stalls, circus acts and face painting.

There will also be a chance for youngsters to meet Sion Corn in his glorious grotto and put in early lists of what they’d like on Christmas morning.

During the afternoon visitors can look forward to an eclectic mix of musical entertainment from local groups on two outdoor stages and other on-street entertainment.

The fun-packed day rounds off at 5pm with the ceremonial switching on of Llangollen’s Christmas lights and a firework extravaganza.

Llangollen Christmas Festival is organised by a group of dedicated community volunteers. It costs over £4,000 to stage each year and is self-funding.

The festival aims to provide a free family-orientated event in the safety of the town centre with surplus funds being donated to Wales Air Ambulance and local community groups.

Over the last couple of years the police have estimated that the spectacular event draws over 2,000 people into town during the course of the afternoon.

For the third year the festival has teamed up with Light Up Local Food, a project aimed at promoting Llangollen-based food and drink producers.

Chairman of the festival committee Austin ‘Chem’ Cheminais, who is also the local town crier and a member of the town council, said: “With the help of the community we manage, each year, to raise just about enough to fund the event and give a little to charity.

“Last year’s festival was particularly successful thanks to the good weather and the feedback from those attending was very positive.

“The ‘market’ feel to the event provided by Light UP Local Food was particularly commented upon and helped to attract visitors from much further afield.

“Once again we’re expecting a bumper crowd to come along and help us to give a great early start to Christmas.”

Festival organisers have also arranged for free parking throughout the day at local car parks.