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Posted by portugalpress on December 05, 2017

The magic of Christmas has returned to Vila Real de Santo António, one of the towns in the Algarve with the liveliest entertainment programme during the holiday season.

There is a wealth of festive fun to enjoy, with highlights including the Christmas Village in the Marquês de Pombal square and the town’s famous massive nativity scene.

The Christmas Village can be visited every day between 10am and 7pm for free, offering music and dance performances, crafts and gastronomy fairs, carrousels, bouncy castles as well as Santa’s Grotto where children can enjoy everything from face-painting to balloon modeling.

The nativity scene is open to the public at the António Aleixo cultural centre, featuring nearly 5,000 figures set within over 20 tons of materials such as sand, rock dust and cork.

It took over 40 days and 2,500 hours of labour to bring the nativity scene to life, with preparations starting almost as soon as last year’s display ended.

The nativity scene is the love child of Augusto Rosa and Teresa Marques, two council workers who were also helped by Joaquim Soares, Telmo Crispim, João Gomes and several other volunteers.

It can be visited every day between 10am and 1pm and 2.30pm and 7pm (except on January 1 when opening hours are between 2.30pm and 7pm). Admission is €0.50, which will go to help the ‘Gente Pequena’ children’s home which offers refuge to children and youngsters who are removed from “risky situations”.

But there will be many other Christmas events taking place in the borough.

Monte Gordo is also hosting its own Christmas Village along its Marginal avenue on weekends until December 23, with opening hours from 10am to 5pm, as well as a Christmas concert by the VRSA Banda Filarmónica on Saturday, December 16 at the Casa da Cultura de Monto Gordo at 9pm.

Cacela Velha is hosting its annual Mercadinho de Natal fair on Sunday (December 10) between 10.30am and 5pm.

Last but not least, the VRSA Christmas Village will mark the Christian celebration known as ‘Dia dos Reis’ (Epiphany) on January 5 with a special visit from the Three Wise Men from Ayamonte, Spain at 11.30am.