Video: Crowds pack out St Albans for Christmas lights switch-on

PUBLISHED: 16:42 16 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010

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HUNDREDS of people packed out the city centre to watch this year s Christmas lights switched on by stars from the Alban Arena panto The Little Mermaid. Crowds gathered outside the Town Hall for an afternoon of festive fun, including a spectacular stage sh

Switching on the lights!

HUNDREDS of people packed out the city centre to watch this year's Christmas lights switched on by stars from the Alban Arena panto The Little Mermaid.

Crowds gathered outside the Town Hall for an afternoon of festive fun, including a spectacular stage show featuring Elvis Shmelvis, the Ricky Lopez Ratpack, Sonic the Magician and the St Albans Rock Choir.

The High Street also played host to a festive Sunday market and children's funfair, with enough rides and stalls to keep everyone amused until the big switch-on took place at 5.30.

Kez from Mercury Radio hosted the proceedings and gave away bundles of prizes in assorted competitions, including the ever-popular Guess the Intro pop quiz, building up the atmosphere in preparation for the lights.

Pantomime star Sarah Jane Honeywell, who plays the Little Mermaid in the new 3D show, was joined by Long John Silver, aka Buster, Churchill the Dog, St Albans mayor Cllr Chris Oxley and Father Christmas himself for the countdown to the big switch-on.

The cast were more than happy to sign autographs and chat to the people crowded around the barriers at the event, many of whom had waited hours in the cold for a chance to see their favourite panto stars.

Sarah Jane said: "It was lovely to be asked to participate in the St Albans Light Switch On. It's my first year in the Alban Arena pantomime and the first time I will be playing a girl!

"For me the switch-on is the beginning of the Christmas season and ultimately the countdown to this year's amazing brand new underwater pantomime adventure."

There is now less than a month to go until The Little Mermaid opens at The Alban Arena on Saturday December 13. Tickets are selling fast, but there is still good availability in the first week so it is advisable to book soon before it's too late.

The Little Mermaid runs until Sunday 3 January 2010, and prices start from as little as £12.50 with generous concessions and group rates available. Call the box office 01727 844488 or book online at www.alban-arena.co.uk

n The annual Christmas Carnival will parade through Harpenden next Sunday, with carol singers, community groups and schoolchildren taking part in the fun, which is organised by local volunteers and members of the town council and Rotary Club.

Despite an already packed diary, Father Christmas will be finding time in his busy schedule to hand out presents to children, with the festive lights switched on at 4.30pm.

Other lights switch-ons are taking place in London Colney at 5.30pm for 6pm by the Millennium Clock on Friday November 27, and in Southdown shopping area the same night at 6pm.

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