Weather forecaster Barra Best can’t promise the snow when he hosts Derry’s Christmas Lights switch-on in Guildhall Square this Sunday but he does know he’s coming to a city that knows how to party!
The Newsline and Coast Lives presenter will be one of the lead attractions when Guildhall Square, Waterloo Place and the Peace Garden is 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.
“Derry knows how to throw a party and I literally can’t wait to be a part of the city’s Christmas festivities – and hopefully bring some good weather with me for the big lights switch on,” said Barra.
“I’ve been to the amazing Halloween celebrations for several years and I know the Christmas celebrations are going to be equally fantastic.
“Plus, I’ll hopefully get to share the stage with the big man himself – Santa.”
Thousands of people are expected for the event and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, encouraged the public to get there early to enjoy the full experience.
Entertainment on two stages from 2pm – 6pm will feature live music from Sensation and Superstition and characters from the Millennium Forum and Waterside Theatre’s pantomimes.
“I’m excited for the official start of our Christmas celebrations this weekend including the Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair and the lights switch-ons in Derry and Strabane,” she said.
“We are expecting a significant amount of people in the city centre to welcome Santa, and I would encourage families to make a day of it in our city centre by taking advantage of the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping.
“There will be plenty of entertainment with live music and animation – just make sure to get here early and wrap up warm.”
The lights are expected to be switched on at around 5.25pm.
An allocated accessible viewing area will be available in front of the bank.
For anyone with limited mobility, accessibility to the event will be available via Guildhall Street, while car parking for blue badge holders is available in all city centre car parks. A Quiet Space will also be located in the Guildhall.
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 22nd until Sunday November 24th 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 1stfeaturing 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.