A Santa’s sack full of festive entertainment, blessings of the season, a song from a panto princess and fairies, and the city streets aglow with more twinkling lights than ever!
That’s the promise when Norwich welcomes in the start of Christmas on Thursday 16 November.
This year’s Festive Lights Switch-On event will run from 5:30pm to 7:15pm, with the lights being switched on at 7pm from the stage in front of City Hall, hosted by Norwich City Council.
The programme will feature song and dance performances from the Framtastics gymnastics group, The Garage and Invidia Voices choir, with a ‘ho-ho-ho’ from Father Christmas and blessings for the festive season by the Revd Canon Edward Carter from St Peter Mancroft Church.
Special guest and panto princess, West End theatre performer Millie O’Connell, known as one of the original Queens in the hit stage musical SIX and also more recently seen at Norwich Theatre Royal as a young Cher (Babe) in The UK tour of The Cher Show, will take to the stage in the lead-up to switching on the lights.
Millie, who will be performing in panto at the theatre this Christmas in Sleeping Beauty - The Fairy's Tale, will sing All I Want For Christmas with the theatre's 12-strong Junior Ensemble of panto fairies-in-training. Then the Junior Ensemble will lead the crowd in the countdown before Millie pulls the handle on the plunger to switch on the lights across the city centre.
The lighting scheme this year, provided by Norwich BID with support from Norwich City Council, will be 100% LED, powered by 100% renewable energy, and will include lampposts wrapped in lights for the first time. The scheme will also be larger than in previous years, introducing festive decor into more areas, and feature updated designs of draped lights across busy shopping streets.
Following the Switch-On, there will be one more musical surprise – and to complete the festive fun, there will also be a brass band playing outside Jarrolds department store. Many Norwich Market stalls will remain open through to 8pm for foodie treats and Christmas shopping opportunities, and a funfair will be offering thrills, spills and fun in Gentleman’s Walk from 4.30pm until late.
A quieter viewing area will be available and is free to walk in, no booking required. Please note, that there are no spaces left in the accessible viewing area.