Helensburgh’s annual Winter Festival will be returning to bring festive fun to the town this weekend.

The free event will be held around the town centre on Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10 from 10am to 5pm both days with Helensburgh’s Clan Colquhoun Pipe Band opening the festival in Colquhoun Square.

Chair of the Winter Festival Committee, Gail Broadhurst, said: “I hope that people come along no matter what the weather is like, because it’s Scotland and there’s bound to be showers.

“Come along, have fun, and support local businesses and get our town on the map.

“We’re not just a summer destination – we’re an all year round destination.”

The festival will feature 100 stalls selling homewares, accessories, specially crafted items, fresh produce, street food, and alcohol – giving residents and visitors a great chance to treat themselves and stock up on some Christmas gifts for loved ones.

Children can pay a visit to Santa’s Grotto while visitors of all ages can enjoy the funfair rides.

There will also be entertainment from live musicians and performers on the festival stage in the square, plus a raffle with prizes donated by The Sugar Boat, The Olde Christmas Shoppe, Loch Lomond Seaplanes, The Journey, and Monty’s Farm Park.

Helensburgh's firefighters and representatives of other rescue services will be at the festival to shed light on the work they do.

An ever-popular feature of the festival - the Santa Dash - will also make a welcome return, though in a slight tweak to this year's programme, the Dash will take place on Saturday, rather than the Sunday of previous years. 

Runners in festive costume will set off from Colquhoun Square on a 4km run to raise funds for numerous local good causes, including the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, Gareloch Riding for the Disabled and many children’s sports clubs.

This year’s Winter Festival forms part of the 'Helensburgh - A Christmas Town' initiative, formed to promote events around the town throughout the festive season.

As part of the initiative, visitors can also vote for their favourite shop window in the best-dressed window competition.

Forms can be collected from any of the 18 businesses participating, and can be handed in to Grasshopper Toys Shop or The Olde Christmas Shoppe in return for a festive treat.

Christmas concerts, a lighting display and decorations in Hermitage Park, a panto in the Victoria Halls, festive films in the Tower Arts Centre, and the local school penguin painting competition were among some of the events organised in the lead up to the festival.

The Santa Dash still has spaces are still open for any last-minute entries, with registration available here: www.helensburghroundtable.org/event-details/santa-dash.