THE countdown to Christmas in Leicester has begun, as the council’s lighting team moves ahead with the annual task of dressing the city centre ready for the big Christmas light switch-on.
This year’s switch-on celebration will take place on Wednesday 22 November, which means the team is working hard to put up the decorations that span the city’s main shopping streets and install the 16,000 low-energy lamps that will light up Leicester throughout the festive period.
Decorating the city – including Town Hall Square and around 20 city centre streets – takes around four weeks, with work being carried out early in the morning and at weekends to minimise disruption.
The centrepiece of the festive decorations, a mighty 50-foot Christmas tree - from Kielder Forest in Northumberland – is due to arrive in the second week of November when it will take pride of place next to the Clock Tower.
A Christmas grotto will be built in Town Hall Square ready for Santa’s annual visit to the city, and the traditional nativity scene will also return to the square in time for the big switch on.
The massive 110m-high Wheel of Light will return to illuminate Jubilee Square – as well as offering people the chance to see Leicester’s Christmas lights from a new perspective – from Friday 17 November. The popular ice rink is also due to make its return to Jubilee Square from Thursday 7 December.
A number of activities will take place at key locations around the city centre as part of the Christmas light switch-on, including brass bands performing in Town Hall Square, a live DJ set from the Haymarket balcony and the Bright Christmas light installation made up of 6,000 coloured LED lights at Highcross. Full details are available at Christmas In Leicester
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke said: “As soon as the lights start to go up across the city centre, Christmas doesn’t seem that far away. Our lighting team are once again working hard to make sure that Leicester looks magical in time for our big switch-on event.
“We look forward to welcoming people from around the city and the county for the start of our Christmas celebrations, and to enjoy all that Leicester has to offer over the festive season.”