THOUSANDS of believers are expected to turn out to join the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor John Boyle, and special guests to welcome Santa to the city this evening, Thursday, November 22, for the big Christmas Lights Switch on in Guildhall Square.
Mayor Boyle urged people to arrive early for the live music and festivities which will take place in the Peace Garden, Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place from 5-8pm.
YouTube sensation Adam Beales (TheNewAdamb99) will be flicking the switch at 7.25pm and large crowds are anticipated.
Speaking ahead of the event, Mayor Boyle said: “I’m really looking forward to our Christmas Switch On event, which officially kick starts our Christmas festivities across the City and District.
“We are expecting a lot of people here tomorrow night to welcome Santa, and I would encourage parents to get here nice and early to get a good spot to see his arrival.
“There will be plenty of entertainment with live music and animation – just make sure to wrap up warm.
“This is a great way to start the festive season and with the Guildhall Craft Fair beginning on Friday, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Derry and Strabane!”
Tonight’s event will feature two stages with BBC Radio Foyle’s Mark Patterson hosting in Guildhall Square and local entertainer Michael Doherty performing MC duties in Waterloo Place.
Musical performers in Guildhall Square will include George Hutton and Paul Casey, and the St Oliver Plunket Primary School Choir, while Superstition will perform in Waterloo Place.
The lights are expected to be switched on at around 7.25pm and anyone planning to attend is advised to access Guildhall Square via Custom House Street or Waterloo Place.
An allocated accessible viewing area will be available in front of the main stage in Guildhall Square.
For anyone with limited mobility, accessibility to the event will be available via Guildhall Street, while car parking for blue badge holders is available in all city centre car parks.
A Quiet Space will also be located in the Guildhall from 5pm – 8pm.
For anyone travelling to the event, Translink are also making preparations ahead of Thursday night’s big switch on.
A spokesperson said: “We expect a very busy evening for the Christmas Lights Switch On and we will run double-deck buses where possible for maximum capacity.”
The Christmas campaign continues over the festive period, with the Christmas Switch On event taking place in Strabane on Saturday, November 24, the Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair running November 23-25, the Christmas Grand Procession, the Mayor’s Christmas Tea Dance, the Winterland Market, Christmas Box Wonders and the Mayor’s ‘Santa Circus Workshop’ Event.
Keep up to date with Christmas news and upcoming entertainment & events by visiting www.derrystrabane.com/christmas
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