Santa in town for Derry’s Big Switch On

A section of the crowd from the Christmas Lights Switch On back in 2012. Thousands are again expected at tonight's Switch On and launch of the 2014 Derry festivities. (PIc Inpresspics.com.)
A section of the crowd from the Christmas Lights Switch On back in 2012. Thousands are again expected at tonight's Switch On and launch of the 2014 Derry festivities. (PIc Inpresspics.com.)
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Santa was today said to be making good progress as he travelled from the North Pole in time for the Big Christmas Lights Switch On in Derry’s Guildhall Square this evening.

Thousands of children, families and those young at heart are expected to gather at the event, which is returning to its usual home at Guildhall Square.

Everyone will be hoping for a glimpse of Saint Nic himself when he sweeps in for the switch on just after 7pm.

The festival will be spread over three areas on the night with entertainment from Elsa and the stars of Frozen in Waterloo Place.

There will also be an enchanting Frozen Forest which will be casting its magic on the Peace Garden, and local people are being urged to bring their cameras along to capture the magic on the night by taking some family snaps inside the Frozen Forest’s snow globe or enchanted igloo.

Tonight’s events kick off at 6.30pm with live music.

Speaking ahead of the event Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson said tonight’s events marked the beginning of the city’s Christmas celebrations.

“There is so much happening right across the city over the coming weeks, including the opening of our Christmas Village in Ebrington Square - we have Fashion Fest, our Festive Frolics in the Craft Village - not to mention all the traditional pantomimes and family shows.

“So I would encourage everyone to wrap up warm and come along to show Santa why Derry should definitely be on the Nice List this year.”

While there are not expected to be any road closures on the evening, the public are advised that Derry City Council will have contingencies in place to restrict traffic movement in congested areas, if necessary, for public safety.

Designated viewing areas for people with disabilities will also be available in both the Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place.

The festivities will continue with the opening of the Christmas Village at Ebrington Square next Friday, November 28th.