An X Factor winner and a CBeebies favourite will headline this year’s Lancaster Christmas Lights Switch-on.
Ben Haenow, who won the X Factor in 2014, and children’s TV presenter Andy Day, will feature as part of a full day of festive fun and entertainment on November 25.
Organised by Lancaster Business Improvement District (BID), this year the popular annual event will be bigger and better than ever with two Santa runs, two stages and an ice rink in Dalton Square.
Thousands of people are expected to turn out for the festivities.
The Main Stage show will take place in Market Square from 2.30pm until 6pm.
X Factor winner Ben Haenow will headline the event.
Ben won the 11th series of The X Factor in 2014 and released his debut single ‘Something I Need’ which went on to become Christmas number one.
Joining Ben will be the BAFTA-nominated Children’s TV presenter Andy Day, best known for his work on CBeebies with shows like Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures.
Other artists making an appearance on the day include The Greatest Showman Show, Zoe Unsworth, Emilia formerly of Tiger Heart and Ricky Birchall from the Birchall Brothers.
There will also be performances from Stagecoach Theatre School, Samba Espirito drumming band and The Dukes theatre cast of Peter Pan.
The Christmas lights will be switched on at 5pm in Market Square. Additional viewing areas will be located on Horse Shoe Corner and Market Street to accommodate the thousands expected to attend the highly popular annual event.
New for 2018 will be the Family Stage.
This second stage located in Dalton Square will be much smaller than the main stage, but will have family-friendly entertainment from 11.30am until 2.30pm.
The entertainment will be complemented by fairground rides and children’s craft activities.
CancerCare’s annual Santa Dash will also return to the city centre.
This one-mile route is perfect for children and people who want a shorter challenge.
There is also a special prize for the child who raises the most sponsorship money- the chance to switch on the Christmas lights with Santa on the night!
This year sees the addition of a ‘Festive 5K’. CancerCare’s newest run will give a different challenge for keen contenders who want to run round the city of Lancaster. Entry is £5 for children and £10 for adults (including a free Santa suit), and all monies raised go towards providing vital funds for the charity. So grab your running shoes, the warm up starts at 1.45pm in Market Square!
Richard Cogger, event organiser from CancerCare, said: “We’re excited to introduce our new Festive 5K and hope runners from far and wide will take part. The Festive 5K and Santa Dash will be enjoyable challenges for children and adults. Taking part will be a special way of supporting people with cancer in the local community at Christmas.”
The BID has also teamed up with Lancaster On Ice, to promote the opening weekend of the Ice Rink in Dalton Square. The Ice rink will be open from 10am – 10pm from 24th November – 6th January (closed Christmas Day).
Lancaster BID Manager Rachael Wilkinson said: “Each year it is great to see the city centre bustling with people enjoying the Switch On day activities. I can’t believe how big the event has grown this year- two stage shows, two festive runs, two great headliners and an ice rink to boot! It’s great that our long standing event can help pave the way for new events such as the Ice Rink and the Festive 5K. We’re grateful to be working with these brilliant organisations and the organisation who help make events like these possible, including St.Nics and Marketgate Shopping Centres, Electricity North West, The Duchy of Lancaster, Lancaster House Hotel, HEART Radio, Lancaster Guardian and Lancaster City Council. The main aim of the Christmas Lights Switch On event is to launch the start of the festive period and Christmas shopping! It’s also the start of FREE festive parking and Late Night Shopping, which are key drivers for business in the run up to the busiest time of the year for many retailers and hospitality businesses. It’s important to remember that it’s the business community who allow free events like the Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On to take place, and we should show our support to them, by shopping locally. Watch out for our Shop 2 Skate campaign, coming soon.”
The Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch-on is just one of many Christmas events happening in Lancaster this winter. Events on every weekend throughout November and December, include Christmas Reindeer, Chilli Fiesta, Light Up Lancaster, Find The Characters, A Musical Affair In Market Square and Christmas at The Castle.
Visit www.VisitLancaster.org or pick up a brochure from the VIC to plan your Winter In The City.