CHRISTMAS is to light up the streets of Chester with festive joy next week but the city remains in the dark about the annual switch-on as it’s going to be a ‘surprise’.
In just seven days time the city will welcome in the festive period with a parade filled with singing, dancing, acrobatics and 300 schoolchildren carrying lanterns winding through the heart of Chester.
But, despite the white lights being strung up and construction on the annual Christmas market well under way, Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) is still not revealing the location of the switch-on, who will press the switch or even what time it will be taking place.
The authority is insisting this year’s main event must be a ‘special surprise’, keeping some of their employees and even the choirs involved in the parade in the dark about the switch-on location.
But speaking to the Chronicle on Tuesday, CWaC finally revealed the city would be getting the two Christmas trees, with one at the amphitheatre and the other at The Cross, which will be switched on as part of the parade next Thursday.
Last year’s event faced criticism from Chronicle readers who were unhappy with the switch-on being moved from its traditional spot outside the town hall to the more cramped area around The Cross.
But, despite concerns about a repeat of the cramped conditions, CWaC is insisting that, by keeping this year’s switch-on under wraps, the event will be a ‘special surprise for everyone’.
Speaking about this year’s festivities, which kick-start on Thursday, November 22, with ‘10 pockets of activity’ across the city at 6pm, Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and recreation, said: “Parades are a traditional part of Chester’s festive offer, so what better way to begin this year’s festivities?
“A mix of community involvement and local professional groups will create a spectacle that families and friends will enjoy and remember.
“During the successful summer Olympic event we learnt that Chester people love to get involved – so we are building on this to enhance and reshape our Christmas offer.”
The timetable for the launch of the Christmas celebrations starts at 4pm with the opening of the Christmas market complete with a Santa’s grotto and stalls serving hot food and drink.
Then, at 6pm there will be music, dance and acrobats, before the Christmas parade starts at Abbey Square and begins to wind through the city at 6.30pm.