Christmas Processions to turn on the lights in Derry and Strabane on the final weekend of November are among the highlights of a comprehensive festive programme approved by members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee this week.
The schedule begins on the weekend of Friday November 17th with the Guildhall Craft Fair and will continue through the month of December with key events including the Mayor’s Christmas programming and Tea Dances in Derry and Strabane.
The Christmas Procession events will take place in Derry on Friday November 24th and Strabane on Saturday November 25th.
Members attending the monthly meeting of the Committee in Council’s Derry Road offices in Strabane heard that the programming aims to enhance the visitor and shopper experience and complement the existing calendar of events at this time of year.
A mix of quality programming and a strong marketing campaign aims to maximise the economic opportunities during this period and will focus on the theme of shopping, gifting and supporting local.
The Procession format for the lights switch-ons originated in 2021 as a safer way for crowds to gather during the Covid pandemic, however Council’s Head of Culture, Aeidin McCarter, said that they have been retained following a positive response from the public.
“In the last two years the format of the Christmas light switch on has changed to multiple streets across a wider area of the city and town centres,” she explained.
“Santa and his festive companions travelled through the streets in procession with the Christmas lights switching on in their wake.
“Due to the success in the change of format which allowed more people to get an up close look at the characters, it is proposed that the Switch On events will proceed this way again in 2023.
“Santa’s Switch On Procession will consist of festive characters, NI Fire and Rescue Service, Panto Characters and beautiful bespoke Christmas themed mobile installations.
“Members of the public attending the Switch On events will be able to view Santa switching on the Christmas Lights from a series of City and Town Centre streets which will allow for the maximum number of people to safely line the routes.”
Members were also told that Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Patricia Logue, will be hosting a weekend of fun and festive delight in Derry and Strabane with all kinds of Christmas characters spreading yuletide cheer.
The Mayor’s Christmas Tea Dances are scheduled for December 6th in the Guildhall and 12th December in St Patrick’s Hall in Strabane.
A wide range of other Christmas events have also been identified from choral events to Christmas movies around the district.
Members also heard that while a decision had been taken earlier as part of the rates process to not go ahead with a council Christmas market, officers have identified other community and city markets that are being planned and these will be profiled as part of the Christmas events schedule.
From a marketing perspective, campaign activity will consist of extensive digital and social media strategies along with prime outdoor, radio and press features in order to reach target audiences.
The existing festive Christmas brand will be maintained and developed to fit with the 2023 theme and visual storytelling will be applied throughout the campaign to motivate, engage and excite.
The What’s On Derry Strabane social media platforms have a combined online community size of 99,000 followers and will therefore be a key platform used to promote the range of Christmas activity.
In addition, the newly developed What’s On Derry Strabane app will be incorporated into the campaign to provide event listings and useful visitor information.
Marketing officers will work closely to engage and collaborate with key stakeholders such as Visit Derry, CCI and the BID in Strabane on promoting bespoke offers, deals, packages and competition prizes.
Campaign activity will commence in November.
For updates and the latest information on Council’s Festival and Events programming visit: https://www.derrystrabane.com/services/festival-eventsTags: