Everything you need to know about this year’s Christmas lights switch-on

Everything you need to know about this year’s Christmas lights switch-on

There are just days to go until Chester city centre’s annual Christmas lights switch-on and parade, which officially mark the start of the festive season on the high street.

Community groups, artists, friendly elves and even Father Christmas himself will be heading for the city centre to kick-start the celebrations this Friday in a change from the traditional Thursday night slot.

The theme will be the ’12 Days of Christmas’ following the success of previous years, which will again see local musicians, actors and children involved with a live brass band leading the procession and singing Christmas carols along the way.

Funded by the city’s Business Improvement District – CH1ChesterBID – in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council, the parade will start at 7pm from Town Hall Square and proceed to wind its way through the city centre.

Chester’s very own Christmas elves, ChELFie and ELFie will help lead the parade on Santa’s Sleigh accompanied by their elf friends, handing out free magic glasses that will transform the city lights into magical festive shapes.  There is also set to be a snow machine, scattering snowflakes from Santa’s sleigh at key points across the route.

More than 15,000 people are expected to descend on Chester to see the spectacle and soak up the festive atmosphere, with organisers encouraging people to arrive early and find a great viewing spot.

“Excitement levels are rising fast this week as the countdown until the official start of Christmas in the city centre draws closer,” said Emily Ghazarian, Events Manager at CH1ChesterBID.

“With the switch to a Friday night, we’re expecting even more people than in previous years and it could well be a record attendance. There are lots of great spots along the route where people can see the full parade and Santa also appears in five different places, so we’re encouraging people to pick a spot and arrive early.

“We hope everyone has a fantastic night and we can’t wait for Friday!”

Parade Route and Viewing Points:

  • START: 7pm at Chester Town Hall
  • St Werburgh Street – view of CheSTAR in Cathedral Garden and Spot Santa!
  • Eastgate Street – Spot Santa near The Cross; two tiers of viewing space with The Rows & street level but get in early as those spots go fast.
  • Bridge Street – wide street with space for prams and two tiers of viewing space with The Rows and street level
  • Pepper Street – Spot Santa on Newgate Bridge near the amphitheatre, where there will also be a fireworks display; space for prams
  • St John Street – view of amphitheatre fireworks display
  • Eastgate Street – Spot Santa at Eastgate Clock
  • Northgate Street – final procession
  • Town Hall Square – Spot Santa for his final appearance above Town Hall
  • END about 8/8.15pm on Town Hall Square where more than 70 Christmas Market stalls will be open for business.

For more information about all the events and activities taking place this Christmas, visit www.experiencechester.co.uk or search ‘CH1ChesterBID’ on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.