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Christmas switch-on starts weekend of festive events

Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

THE COUNTDOWN to Christmas begins next month with the switch-on of Leicester’s traditional Christmas lights.

For the first time, the switch-on ceremony will take place on a Thursday evening – giving people a bit more time to enjoy the lights and make the most of the late-night shopping opportunities.

This year’s event will get under way at 5pm on Thursday 17 November, with a packed programme of entertainment on the Humberstone Gate stage before – and after  – the Christmas lights are switched on at 6.30pm.

The switch-on will signal the start of a festive weekend in the city, with the return of the Christmas funfair on Humberstone Gate (from Saturday 19 November) and the city’s popular Winter Food and Drink Festival, which will fill Leicester Market with delicious local food and drink on Sunday 20 November.

People will also be able to enjoy spectacular views of the illuminations from Leicester’s spectacular Wheel of Light – the giant ferris wheel that will be back in Jubilee Square for Christmas – and a programme of activities and family entertainment throughout the weekend.

“The annual switch-on ceremony has become a much bigger event, since we moved it from Town Hall Square to Humberstone Gate three years ago,” said assistant city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair.

“Last year, around 25,000 people enjoyed the new format event – and we’re hoping that similar numbers will join us in Humberstone Gate on November 17th to enjoy a programme of family entertainment and the switch-on of Leicester’s traditional Christmas lights.”

The city council will begin the task of putting up the city centre’s Christmas decorations on Sunday (16 October).

Most of the work will be done on Sundays or overnight to minimise inconvenience to road users.

Full details of Leicester’s programme of events for Christmas will be available on the Visit Leicester website from the end of October.

They will also be listed in a free Christmas guide to shopping and dining in Leicester that will be available from the Visit Leicester centre on Gallowtree Gate from early November.