The city’s festive celebrations will kick off next Wednesday 21 November with the official Switch On of the city’s Christmas Lights. The main man himself, Santa will be there with the help and support of his good wife, Mrs Claus to do the honours of the turning on the lights.
The Switch On, which is one of the highlights of the city’s events calendar, is a hugely successful occasion attracting thousands of families keen to get into the Christmas period and enjoy some festive time in the city.
The celebrations will take place in Guildhall Square with musical entertainment from Paddy Nash and the Happy Enchiladas and BBC’s Mark Patterson will be MC on the night. There will be festive and celebratory atmosphere as the city prepares for a bumper Christmas season and counts down to the 2013 City of Culture celebrations, which are just weeks away!
Speaking ahead of the Switch On, the Mayor Cllr Kevin Campbell said he was looking forward to the event as it was one of the most popular family occasions with everyone coming along and getting into the spirit of Christmas.
“The Big Switch On is a fantastic event. It’s a great opportunity for families to come into the city centre, meet Santa and soak up the great festive atmosphere and have some fun. It is also a chance for us to promote the city as a good place to come and do some Christmas shopping and take part in our festive events. Let’s hope this Christmas period is a good time for local retailers and businesses and that we create a real buzz in the city as we prepare for the start of 2013 and the huge opportunities that exist with City of Culture.”
He added that next month the Council will, for the first time, host the Christmas Market in Guildhall Square when it will become the centre piece of festive activities from the 01st -22nd December when shoppers will be able to sample the enchanting atmosphere of the European winter markets right on their own doorstep.
Event organiser, Elaine Griffin said the Switch On was just one of the highlights of the city’s social calendar and a great family friendly occasion. “Every year the Switch On attracts huge crowds and it’s a really great family friendly event. The Guildhall Square comes alive with festive cheer and when Santa arrives the atmosphere is amazing. We have a full line up of musical entertainment organised for the evening for all the family. The Switch On marks the start of a range of festive events for visitors and residents in the city in the run up to Christmas and actively encourages people from outside the city to Make a Date with Derry this Christmas,” she said.
She added that each year the event is increasing in popularity and those planning on coming to the event are advised to arrive early and plan their journey in advance as there will be some restrictions on the night with restricted access to Waterloo Place and Guildhall Square.
The main entry and exit points will be at Magazine Gate, Waterloo Place and Custom House Street with disabled access points at Guildhall Square and Shipquay Place. The Big Screen at Waterloo Place will be also showing Santa’s arrival and this can be used as an additional vantage point. Family entertainment on the night will run from 6.30 pm to 8.00pm with the official Big Switch-On taking place at 7.30pm.
Further information on the event and how to get there as well as information on the range of exciting Christmas events we have on offer are available on Derry City Council ‘s website – www.festivetime.com or by contacting the Festivals Office at 028 71 367545