Skip to main content
Text size

Christmas Cracker returns with thousands expected at City Centre event

Publication date:

Thousands of people are expected to attend the return of the St Albans Christmas Cracker – the event that launches the District’s festive season.

The spectacular street festival will take place in the City Centre from noon until 6pm on Sunday 21 November.

St Peter’s Street will be closed to traffic to help create a safe and vibrant atmosphere with measures in place to guard against COVID.

Among the attractions will be live music, a Santa’s grotto, scores of market stalls, funfair rides and street performers.

Much of the family-friendly entertainment will be free with something to suit people of all ages.

The event is organised by St Albans City and District Council and as an anti-COVID measure, it has been decided NOT to have the traditional evening Christmas lights switch-on.

This is to ensure that a dense throng of people do not gather before the main stage for the countdown. 

Instead, there will be a number of magical moments, lighting up the City Centre throughout the day.

Among the light installations returning to the City Centre are the highly-popular glittering carriage and the giant bauble. There will also be a snow machine, lit-up stilt walkers and low-noise pyrotechnics.

Other attractions include:

The Main Stage: situated near the Beech House, there will be live music and other entertainment popular acts: the Redbourn Jazz Band, Excel Performing Arts, Cristina Federici, Life’s A Gas and the Soul Enforcement Bureau.

Acoustic Stage: located by the Anthroplogie shop, there will be music from Starseedz, Grace George, Purple Allstars, Steve Warner, Lizzy Hardingham and Kelvin Davis with Gary Jones.

Santa’s Grotto: held this year by the Alban Arena and including live reindeer.

Market Traders: more than 70 stalls selling a vast range of novelty gifts, seasonal produce and mouth-watering street food.

St Albans Museum + Gallery: this flagship building will be lit up with festive lights and there will also be craft activities linked to the major exhibition, The Remarkable World of Trees.

Children’s Christmas Arts and Crafts Marquee: free activities where children can make their own Christmas decorations to take home.

Community Safe Zone: a place for more vulnerable visitors to go if they need some peace and quiet.

Councillor Mandy McNeil, Vice-Chair of the Council’s Regeneration and Business Committee who has lead responsibility for the event, said:

I am thrilled that the Christmas Cracker is returning after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s event.

The pandemic is, of course, still with us and we are taking a number of precautions to guard against the virus. These include expanding the event area to create more space and providing free face masks for those that want them.

We ask people to support our efforts in this regard by, for instance, avoiding coming to the event if they display any symptoms.

The Christmas Cracker is a terrific way to get the District’s festive season underway and we want people to be able to enjoy themselves in a safe environment.

There are a host of wonderful attractions for people of all ages and interests to enjoy with the street festival taking place throughout the afternoon and early evening.

The event will also provide a welcome boost to the local economy by bringing many extra visitors to the City Centre where they can take advantage of our fabulous City Centre shops and the local produce on sale at market stalls.


People are asked to stay at home if they have any Covid symptoms and to take a lateral flow test before coming to the event to ensure they are negative.

Surfaces and touch points in the event area will be regularly sanitised throughout the afternoon by a dedicated cleaning staff.

When in busy areas, it is suggested people should wear a face mask to protect themselves and others.

Free disposable masks will be available while there will also be multiple hand sanitiser stations around the site.

Details of the full Christmas programme for St Albans District will be available here:

Picture: scene from the 2019 event.

Councillor contact: Mandy McNeil, Vice-Chair of the Regeneration and Business Committee:; 07854-198999.

Media contact: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727 819533,