Crowds cheered as a much loved Chinese take-away owner switched on the illuminated trees in Garden Lane.
Award-winning cheerleading students, choirs of all ages, the university orchestra, bar staff performing hip-hop and a Spanish opera singer were among the line-up for the annual switch-on of the Christmas lights in Garden Lane.
Residents and visitors turned up in their hundreds to the launch of the Christmas festival in one of the city’s suburbs.
The Garden Quarter hosted a range of events to mark the first in a calendar of seasonal activities.
Entitled Garden Quarter Light Night, the evening began with the Christmas fayre at Chester Blue Coat Primary School and was followed by a procession of children singing through the streets to Garden Lane where the annual outdoor switch on event took place.
The festivities concluded with entertainment in the three local bars, The Bouverie, Goat and Munch and newly re-opened Chichester Arms.
Garden Lane was closed to traffic as the ‘pop-up’ outdoor stage played host to a wealth of local performers.
These included hip-hop artists Harry and Sophie who wrote their own song with a local flavour, and the crowds were left speechless when Maria del Valle, a Spanish opera singer currently studying at the University of Chester, sang an ancient Iberian carol.
The stage was also filled with the sound of University of Chester’s choir and orchestra, Chester Blue Coat School Choir and A Handbag of Harmonies.
Dance and visual spectacle was provided by the national award winning Chester Vixens Cheerleaders, also from the University of Chester.
The switch-on show was presented by Matt Baker.
Having served the community for nearly a quarter of a century, the honour of ‘pressing the button’ (or ‘squeezing the octopus’ tentacle as is the unusual traditional case in the Garden Quarter) was bestowed upon Su of River Queen Chinese Take-away in Garden Lane.
Event organiser Sarra Cooper said: “Su and the family are real personalities of the neighborhood and have been for over 20 years.
“I think every student and every resident has been served a delicious Chinese take-away by Su over the years, and so we felt she was the perfect choice to switch on the lights this year.”
There was a musically accompanied firework display as Garden Lane was illuminated with Christmas lights.
Residents had worked through the week decorating the fresh trees and mounting them up above the shops in preparation for the switch on.
Resident Andrew Clouting created a unique new illuminated tree installation which now lights up the newest bar Goat and Munch, and can be seen from the ring road.
The evening concluded with entertainment provided by all female choir A Handbag of Harmonies and soul band Safehouse in the three local bars.
The famous Christmas Market will take place on Saturday, December 2 at 10.30am in St Thomas of Canterbury Church, which will be opened by DJ Gavin Matthews of Dee106.3FM and Chester the Cat.
The Garden Quarter will host a series of community nativities and candlelit carol services in various different locations, including Northgate Church, Uniting Church of Garden Lane, St Thomas of Canterbury Church and in the Cambrian Community.
People keen to keep up with events in the Garden Quarter can follow their Facebook page or on Twitter @GardenQuarter.