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First to celebrate joys of Christmas

PUBLISHED: 16:51 25 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:06 03 July 2010

Liz Coates

ANYONE of a nervous disposition who fears the festive offensive starts ever earlier should look away now…

Because from tomorrow - a full two months before December 25 - Santa will be in his grotto chatting to youngsters and handing out presents.

ANYONE of a nervous disposition who fears the festive offensive starts ever earlier should look away now…

Because from tomorrow - a full two months before December 25 - Santa will be in his grotto chatting to youngsters and handing out presents.

Pettitts, the animal adventure park at Reedham, claims to have got in first and booked busy Santa for his first spangly string of Christmas commitments.

General manager Sue McElroy said the park was gearing up for a glittering Christmas - and setting out for the first time to prove it was more than just a summer attraction and that Pettitts - as the saying goes - was not just for Christmas, but for all year round.

For although the park will be open over next week's October half term as usual it is also opening weekends until Christmas.

Ms McElroy said that so much effort went in to creating Santa's gorgeous grotto it seemed a shame to only open it for a week. Its popularity in previous years proved that families loved it and were happy to wrap up and join in the fun even when temperatures plummeted.

She added that it was the first time the park which was set up about 20 years ago and owned by Family Amusements for the last eight had put out the welcome mat in the winter months and during the Christmas school holidays.

The grotto - close to Santa's home in gnome village - is tweaked every year to add new elements and this year features a ski slope and various moving characters.

There will also be an opportunity to meet real reindeer, including two youngsters born at the park this year facing their first Christmas.

“I always tell everybody we get in there first with Father Christmas. I don't know anyone else that has him this early.

“Everything is all out in the shops and the children and the parents really get into it,” she said.

Pettitts is open from tomorrow until November 2, 10am to 5pm and on weekends thereafter from 10am to 3pm. Santa is in residence between 1pm and 3pm. A visit costs £2.50 including a quality gift. No booking required.

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