St Albans Christmas Lights Switch-on attracts record crowd

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News release: 28 November 2017

A record crowd of over 18,000 people flocked to St Albans to watch the Christmas Lights Switch-on at three locations in the City on Sunday 26 November.

Christmas lights in St Peter's Street, St Albans
The City was transformed into a winter wonderland for a festive party on St Peter’s Street that kicked off at noon and culminated in the switch-on at 5pm.

Children’s TV star Phil “Mister Maker” Gallagher and other cast members from the Alban Arena Pantomime, Aladdin, led the countdown from the main stage opposite Beech House. Joining the line-up was actor Karl Howman, who played Buster Briggs in EastEnders, and comedian Bob Golding, famous for his Eric Morecambe impersonation.

Simultaneously, the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Cllr Mohammad Iqbal Zia, flicked the switch at the countdown at the Clock Tower. Festive lights at the annual Christmas Market in Vintry Garden were also switched on at the same time.

Attractions at the festive street party included a funfair, children’s craft activities and street entertainers. Highlights included festive bauble making, face painting, a giant snow globe, fire jugglers and, of course, Santa’s Grotto. There was also live music provided by a host of local acts and community groups as well as 70 stalls selling festive gifts, food and drink.

Community station 92.6FM Radio Verulam broadcast aspects of the St Albans Christmas Lights Switch-On and provided a compere for the main stage.

The Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Mohammad Iqbal Zia, said: “The Christmas Lights Switch-On just gets bigger and better each year. It was a fabulous event that attracted a record crowd and marked the start of the festive season.”

Festive fun was also on offer at the Christmas Market in Vintry Garden where visitors bought gifts, feasted on food and drink and were treated to entertainment. The market will be running right up to Saturday 23 December.

Both the Christmas Lights Switch-on event and the Christmas Market are organised by St Albans City and District Council. 

Councillor Beric Read, Portfolio Holder for Business and the Community at St Albans City and District Council, said: “These exciting festive events attract thousands of visitors to St Albans City centre helping to boost the local economy. The turn-out at the Christmas Lights Switch-on was well up on last year. It attracted an estimated 18,000 people, a remarkable rise of 20% on 2016.
“There were improvements this year with St Albans Business Improvement District financing and installing new multi-coloured lights on the trees lining St Peter’s Street.

 “The Christmas Market also had a bumper day with over 15,000 visits – that’s up by 56% on the equivalent Sunday of last year.

“The two events have got Christmas in St Albans off to a very exciting start.”

More information about St Albans Christmas Market is available at:

The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Mohammad Iqbal Zia

Contact for the Mayor’s office: 
Alison Orde, the Mayor’s Civic Officer 
Tel: 01727 819544 

Contact for the media:
Amanda Wilkinson, 
Senior Communications Officer 
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317 
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Aladdin opens at the Alban Arena on Thursday 7 December and runs until Sunday 7 January 2018. 

St Albans Business Improvement District is a not-for-profit organisation funded by local businesses that seeks to improve the City Centre. 
Cast from Aladdin panto perform Christmas lights switch-on in St Peter's Street, St Albans

The cast from the Alban Arena panto Aladdin switched on the Christmas lights on the main stage in St Peter's Street, St Albans.

 Bauble decorating at Christmas lights switch on 2017

Bauble decorating at the Christmas lights switch-on event.