The full programme for this year’s Christmas lights switch on and festive parade has been announced with just a couple of weeks until the magic of Christmas falls upon Chester city centre.

Organised by Chester’s Business Improvement District, CH1ChesterBID, in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council , the popular ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ themed parade will once again delight children and adults alike, with Santa and four elves taking to the city’s streets on Thursday, November 16.

Starring a range of community groups and local artists, the parade starts at 7pm from Princess Street before heading past the town hall towards St Werburgh Street, Chester Cathedral and down to Eastgate Street, Bridge Street and around the city centre.

Chester’s much-loved brass band will lead the parade, performing a selection of Christmas classics, while Chester’s Christmas elves ChELFie and ELFie will be spreading festive cheer and helping children spot Santa’s sleigh, which will be hiding on rooftops throughout the event.

The elves will be posing for selfies throughout the parade, with a competition running across the festive period with prizes for the best selfie. Visitors just need to tweet the CH1ChesterBID twitter account @CH1Chester to be in with a chance of winning.

Chester also welcomes back the festive ‘CheSTAR’, a giant sparkling Christmas star, which made its debut in the city centre last year. The 25ft star will stand majestically in the grounds of Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street and is made up of almost 19,000 twinkling lights.

The cheSTAR on display at Chester Cathedral

Marketing manager at CH1ChesterBID Judy Tagell said: “The annual Christmas parade is a highly-anticipated event in the Christmas calendar for many local residents and visitors to the city. It signals the start of the holiday season and it’s the perfect opportunity to get some Christmas shopping underway nice and early with stores across the city centre open until 8pm.

“This year’s celebration is set to be very special, with elements that will enchant both children and adults. It’s taken months of planning, but once November 16 rolls around, we’re sure it will be worth every second and can’t wait to see it all come together.”

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, added: “Christmas in Chester certainly is magical. The beauty and history of the city effortlessly lends it to the festive decorations and truly makes it feel like a winter wonderland. The parade is only the beginning of an entire calendar of festive activities taking place in the city centre this year and for us, really does kick start the most wonderful time of the year.”

Last year's Christmas lights switch-on and parade

Fireworks will be let off during the parade at The Cathedral, Eastgate Clock, The Cross, Amphitheatre and town hall.

Chester’s Christmas Market will open from 11am at Town Hall Square on Thursday, November 16 until December 20. The market will be open from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday, with late night shopping on Thursdays until 8pm and until 7pm on Friday and Saturday.

For more information about all the events and activities taking place this Christmas, visit www.experiencechester.co.uk or follow @CH1Chester on Twitter.