Christmas lights switch-on clash for St Albans and Harpenden

St Albans switch on

St Albans switch on - Credit: Archant

Christmas lights are to be switched on in St Albans and Harpenden on the same day this year.

Harpenden switch on

Harpenden switch on - Credit: Archant

Both the city and the town will light up next Sunday, November 27, and feature stalls, Santa and events for children.

The lights will go on in four locations in St Albans including the Christmas Market in Vintry Gardens in a bid to incorporate it into the rest of the city centre’s festiv activities.

But the countdown will be on stage at the traditional spot in St Peter’s Street and will be carried out by Arena pantomime stars including Rita Simons from EastEnders and the Mayor, Cllr Frances Leonard.

Simultaneous switch-ons will happen at the family zone in front of the Arena, the Clock Tower and the Christmas Market.

Harpenden Xmas carnival procession

Harpenden Xmas carnival procession - Credit: Archant

The aim in providing extra places is to open up the ceremony to a larger crowd and avoid congestion around the main stage near The Cock pub.

The annual switch-on, organised by the district council, attracts around 15,000 people, drawn to the event by stalls, a funfair and free children activities. A live music stage featuring local acts will be sited in front of the Beech House in St Peter’s Street.

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Meraki, which is running the entertainment in the Christmas market, is holding a XmasdFest area outside the Town Hall featuring music, street artists, comedians, a chill-out zone and activities such as face painting.

In addition there will be a giant pop-up snowglobe, Santa’s grotto and a host of street performers as well as food and drink stalls in St Peter’s Street and at the Christmas Market food court.

Cllr Beric Read, the council’s portfolio holder for community engagement and localism, said: “For the first time, the lights switch-on will coincide with the first weekend that the Christmas market is open.”

In Harpenden the annual carnival and lights switch on will run from midday until 6pm and feature the regular monthly Farmers’ Market, charity stalls, the Young Enterprise business fair and a funfair. Santa will be in his grotto in Thompson’s Close.

The carnival procession begins at 3pm and local choirs and bands will appear on stage from 1pm. The lights will be switched on at 5pm by Town Mayor, Cllr Nicola Linacre, and the winner of the town council’s poster competition, Imola Moody from St Dominic’s School.

Free parking will be provided at the Harpenden Station car parks from midday.