Derry & Strabane Christmas Lights Switch On plans revealed - Santa, reindeer and live entertainment

Derry and Strabane will bring in the festive season in with a bang on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November with a host of activities and entertainment to mark the switching on of their Christmas lights.

In Strabane on Saturday 23rd November from 1pm to 6pm Santa will travel to the North West to switch on the lights in Strabane where children can catch a peek of his elves working hard in the post office to make sure everything is ready for Christmas.

Santa arrives over a crowd of thousands from Derry�"s Walls as he  to switched on the Christmas Lights in Guildhall Square. Picture Martin  McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 22.11.18

Santa arrives over a crowd of thousands from Derry�"s Walls as he to switched on the Christmas Lights in Guildhall Square. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 22.11.18

There’s lots for the family including live music, arts and crafts, Christmas markets, walkabout characters, dance performances, face painting and some special guests before the switching on of the lights at 5pm.

It’s Derry’s turn on Sunday 24th November when Guildhall Square, Waterloo Place and the Peace Garden will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the event which is expected to include a guest appearance from the busiest man in the world at this time of year – Santa Claus.

Entertainment on two stages will include live music from Sensation and Superstition and characters from the Millennium Forum and Waterside Theatre’s pantomimes.

Santa has already booked the Peace Garden in Foyle Street to park his reindeers and children are welcome to come along and view them for themselves and get their face painted in preparation for the main event.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, encouraged the public to get involved in the afternoon of entertainment which runs from 2pm – 6pm.

“It is always a special moment to see the centre lit up and ready for Christmas for the first time and I know Council’s maintenance and electrical teams are already hard at work preparing the lights, tree and decorations for the big day,” she said.

“Council have a packed Christmas programme planned this year including the Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair, the Strabane Christmas Fayre and my own Christmas events in the Alley Theatre and the Guildhall and everyone is welcome to get involved.

“The Derry Christmas Lights Switch on has moved to a Sunday this year with a full four hours of activities and entertainment planned so I hope as many families as possible can come along to the city centre and celebrate the start of the festive season.”

The city lights switch on is just one of the highlights in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s exciting programme of festive events for 2019.

The Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair returns from Friday November 23rd until Sunday November 25th offering the ultimate shopping experience for quality, crafted goods and anyone searching for that special present this Christmas.

Strabane town centre will host the popular Strabane Christmas Fayre on Sunday December 1st featuring 30 local food and craft market stalls, a family zone and entertainment by local musicians, brass band and craft market stalls, a family zone and festive entertainment by local musicians, brass bands and school choirs.

The Mayor’s Christmas comes to the Alley Theatre on Saturday November 30th and the Guildhall on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December featuring story telling with Mrs Claus and decoration making.

From Thursday December 12th to Sunday December 15th the Winterland Markets in Guildhall Square will have the best of artisan traders offering a family friendly shopping experience with a wide selection of specialty Christmas foods and handcrafted products and a family friendly bar serving draft craft beer, mulled wine and spirits using locally sourced produce.

To see the full Christmas listings visit www.derrystrabane.com/Christmas.