THE excitement is building ahead of the return of Oswestry's Christmas Parade.

This year's event – which is the 67th of its kind – takes place on Saturday, December 4, kicking off at 11am and will see dozens of colourful floats and groups on foot take in the centre of the town, bringing smiles to crowds that are often eight-deep in places.

The long and proud history of the parade dates back to 1954 when Father Christmas, flanked by two spacemen, climbed down from a spaceship in Oswestry town centre and said, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” The then mayor, W. J. Roberts greeted him and said: “I’d like to welcome you on behalf of the children of Oswestry.

"You know, when I was a child, Father Christmas came down the chimney but how different are things in 1954. Now, for the first time in our lives you’ve comes in a spaceship – from Mars!” At that time the event was run by the Oswestry Round Table, but now it is led by Borderland Rotary Club.

Jonathan Jones, from the club, which has organised the parade for more than a decade, said: "We are so thrilled to be back and it’s great that we are able to keep up this long, and some might say, glorious tradition and we just hope that this year’s event will conjure up those same lasting festive images and memories and bring a smile to every face."

Meanwhile, the club is also making residents aware of the road closures that will be in effect on Saturday, December 4 between 10.45am and 12.30pm.

The parade starts and finishes at the traffic lights by St Oswald’s Church and travels along Church Street, Willow Street, Cross Street, Castle Street, Beatrice Street and Oswald Road. All linking streets will be closed.