VIDEO: Thousands join Santa for Christmas Switch On

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Thousands upon thousands of people turned out to witness Santa and his little helpers light up Derry for Christmas.

Children, their families, and those young at heart packed into Guildhall Square, Waterloo Place and the surrounding streets for the Big Switch On, which officially marks the start of the city’s festive celebrations.

A section of the crowds who gathered in the city centre last night for the Christmas Lights Switch On.

A section of the crowds who gathered in the city centre last night for the Christmas Lights Switch On.

The rain stayed away for the event, and the crisp night air added a wintry feel to the proceedings.

Toddlers could be seen bopping happily on the shoulders of their parents and playing as the live music kicked in at two stages in the city centre, or playing with the neon flashing swords and windmills for sale at the various stalls across fringing the area.

In the lead up to the Switch On, there were audible gasps as giant spotlights searched for and found Santa as he magically hopped from various buildings and locations across the city.

A giant crane then lifted the Big Man from the City Walls out over the crowd, for the countdown to the main event.

The Big Switch On saw trees, buildings and landmarks across the city centre being illuminated this year, with some familiar installations such as the popular overhanging lights along Shipquay Street and elsewhere making a return this year.

As Santa followed tradition by throwing out sweets to the crowds below on Guildhall Square, there were large queues building for an audience with Elsa from Frozen as she spread a little magic to create an enchanting Winter Wonderland Forest for kids at the Peace Park next to the Guildhall.

The park also featured a human snow globe and an igloo were children could get their pictures taken.

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