Countdown to sparkle with the Christmas lights switch-on

Save the date – Tamworth’s festive season officially gets underway in a month’s time with another cracker of a Christmas lights switch-on event on Sunday November 26.
The countdown to Christmas will be launched in style with a jam-packed afternoon of festive fun for the whole family in Tamworth town centre, ahead of the main event in St Editha’s Square at 5pm, when the town will sparkle in Christmas cheer.

Festivities take place throughout the day from 1pm, including fairground rides, crafts, live music, Christmas market, walk about characters, dance performances, lantern parade, face painting and personal appearances at intervals from The Gruffalo in Ankerside Shopping Centre.

Ankerside Centre Manager, Jeff Wigley, said: “I’m delighted that we are once again part of the fantastic festivities happening across Tamworth. The Christmas lights switch-on is a real highlight in the town.
“Children won’t have to journey to the deep dark wood to be able to have their picture taken with The Gruffalo as the larger-than-life character will be here throughout the day in the countdown to the big event.”
The main event will be at 5pm when the honour of switching on the lights will be given to the winner of a special Bake-Off competition which is taking place as part of this year’s Tamworth in Bloom competition. They will be accompanied by the Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr John Chesworth; not forgetting Father Christmas and The Gruffalo who will make an appearance too.

The annual Christmas lights switch-on is organised with the Tamworth Christmas Lights Festival Committee and is another favourite in the Tamworth Arts & Events calendar which attracts thousands of people, who flock to the town to enjoy the celebrations each year.

Throughout November, Tamworth Borough Council’s play leader will be visiting primary schools to deliver free lantern workshops. These lanterns will be used in a parade at the lights switch-on at 4pm.

The parade will start from the Castle Activity Centre in the Castle Grounds and lead to St Editha’s Square. Children can collect a free glow-stick from the Castle Activity Centre prior to the parade, to make their lanterns glow.

Music will again centre round the Touch FM stage in St Editha’s Square, featuring live performances from a range of acts from 2pm, including The Jays Vintage, Matilda Pratt, Tamworth Voices, Stage It, Just Perform, Tamworth Pantomime Company, St Leonards Primary School and more.

Elsewhere, members of St Francis Church will stage a live nativity under the Town Hall in Market Street and the Christmas market will return to George Street.

The market will be enchanted with Christmas cheer offering festive sounds from Tamworth Wind Band and a range of stalls selling gifts, crafts, novelties, local produce, wood fired pizza and festive food – perfect for picking up some unique and personal Christmas presents.

Any businesses or charities interested in booking a stall at the festive market are asked to contact Frances Bragger on 01827 54692, or email frances.bragger@sky.com.

Also returning is the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Editha’s Church, which invites schools, businesses, local groups and individuals to decorate a tree to be displayed in the church.  This is an excellent opportunity to show off your creative flair and promote your group or organisation. For more information, please contact the Parish Office on 01827 68339.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “The Christmas lights switch-on event is another highlight in Tamworth’s free programme of arts and events which is run in partnership with Tamworth Christmas Lights Festival Committee. This year the committee along with the Arts and Events team has organised another great programme of entertainment, including The Gruffalo character which I’m sure will be a big hit with some of our younger visitors. It should be the perfect start to the Christmas season.”