It’s a Christmas tradition with a canine twist that has become a firm favourite on the calendars of dog owners across Norfolk.
Santa’s Grotto for Dogs will be returning to The Forum this December with pooches invited along to meet the original, and rather eccentric, Santa Woof-Woof.
This barking-mad, free event takes place outside The Forum on Saturday, December 14 from 11am to 3pm, and a ‘pawsome’ new grotto is set to be unveiled.
Every year hundreds of doting dog owners bring their pets - many in fancy dress - to meet Santa Woof-Woof and take a festive family photo.
The local RSPCA and Pets as Therapy charities are part of the fun, and this year there will also be a doggie-treat Christmas bake sale.
Jayne Evans, Events and Partnerships Manager at The Forum, said: “Santa’s Grotto for Dogs is the highlight of my Christmas. This is the sixth year and none of us ever dreamed it would be so popular.
“Seeing so many dogs, in Christmas outfits, and all the happy families gathering for a bit of seasonal silliness – and donating money to local animal charities – is always a huge delight.”
As well as posing for a festive snap, visitors can also meet the teams from the RSPCA and Pets as Therapy who will be running their own stalls. And pupils from The Hewett Academy will be selling homemade doggy treats to raise funds for the Friends of Hewett Association.
The grotto is free to attend, with donations to the charities encouraged.
Tammy Clarke, Retail Development Manager for the RSPCA Mid Norfolk and North Suffolk Branch, said: "As a local, independent charity, Santa's Grotto for Dogs offers us the chance to get onto the streets of the largest city in the area on the busiest Saturday of the year to spread the message about kindness to animals.
“Our independent branch is separate from the national RSPCA and our role is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome local animals in need whilst supporting responsible pet ownership. The event gives us the chance to answer owners’ queries, promote rehoming, explain how our branch works and promote volunteering opportunities.
“We absolutely love meeting all the wonderful dogs and the families that love and care for them. It’s a fantastic event which embodies what Christmas is all about - kindness and friendship - and we are so grateful to be involved.”