Annual Christmas Lights Switch-On street party set to kick off festive season in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 11:40 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:40 12 November 2018

St Albans was transformed into a winter wonderland in 2017. Picture: Spike Brown

St Albans was transformed into a winter wonderland in 2017. Picture: Spike Brown

Archant

An all-singing all-dancing street party is set to kick off St Albans’ festive season this year.

About 15,000 people are expected to enjoy the festivities at the city’s annual Christmas Lights Switch-On event this weekend.

There will be live music, a Santa’s grotto, circus workshops, craft activities, a winter wonderland bar, funfair rides, street performers, and more than 100 market stalls selling a range of gifts.

A snowy woodland will showcase what is due to be held at the Meraki Christmas Festival, including an ice bar.

The twinkly lights will be switched-on at two locations so as many visitors as possible can get close to the action.

Stars of the Alban Arena’s 2018 pantomime Cinderella, including local comedian Bob Golding, will turn them on at the main stage on St Peter’s Street.

St Albans mayor Rosemary Farmer will do the honours at the Clock Tower to the accompaniment of festive tunes from local musician Minnie Birch.

Other live music, which will be performed on a stage by the taxi-rank, includes Swanvesta Social Club, Mamas with Voices, Ellie McCann, Cristina Federici, and Christmas choir sing-a-longs.

Portfolio holder for business and the community, Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, said: “The Christmas Lights Switch-On is a terrific way for people to get the festive season underway. It generates a cracking atmosphere and I urge everyone to get along and not miss out.

“The event also helps boost the local economy bringing thousands of extra visitors as well as showcasing the city centre shops and the local produce on sale at the market stalls.”

St Albans Business Improvement District (BID) has largely funded the lights, including those that run from the Town Hall to The Cock Inn.

It also financed new infrastructure to provide the power.

The switch-on event is from 12pm to 6pm on November 18, and St Peter’s Street will be closed to traffic for that time. Most of the activities will be free. The lights will be switched on at 5pm.

Cinderella at the Alban Arena runs from December 6, 2018 to January 6, 2019. For more details, see www.alban-arena.co.uk/type/panto/

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