Leicester gets into the Christmas spirit with the annual lights switch-on

By Elliot Leadbetter

People came out in their thousands to witness the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Rashmikant Joshi, switch on the Christmas lights.

The crowds collected mainly around the Humberstone Gate stage where there was a variety of entertainment on show including, of course, Santa Claus, as well as a choir, dancers, and a closing set from ska band The Paradimes.

Joshua Mucha, a 19-year-old Criminology student at De Montfort University, who attended the event, said: “I always come down to the lights switch on, every year.

“It’s normally a great evening and there is always some form of entertainment provided, just like tonight.

“More than anything it’s nice to just come down and see all of the community out with their families, it feels like more like Christmas now!”

Every year there is speculation over what the Christmas tree will look like, which is traditionally sourced from the Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

This year, the 50ft tree was covered in ‘snow’ and thousands of lights, to match the snow and ice theme the council is adopting across the city this Christmas.

Aside from the lights switch-on, there was a whole host of events across the city centre to get the community into the festive mood.

In the Town Hall Square there was a nativity scene for the family to enjoy, as well as a tableau scene featuring characters from the Chronicles of Narnia.


A large Christmas sign in the Town Hall Square – home of the nativity scene.

Frostival was also providing entertainment in St Peter’s Square, featuring Swan Lake ballerinas, stilt-walking characters, and winged ice dancers, all just a few minutes away from the Wheel of Light.


The Wheel of Light

Last Thursday also marked the start of trading for the new Christmas Market in New Market Square, where there was a whole range of chalets selling homemade gifts and a selection of festive foods.


Some of the chalets selling homemade gifts and food

Next up in the Christmas diary is Leicester’s first real ice rink, which opens in Jubilee Square on December 9.

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