Thousands expected at Derry Christmas Lights Switch On

Thousands of people are set to join Santa and weatherman Barra Best to mark the start of the festive season in Derry’s city centre on Sunday at the Christmas Lights switch-on.

A day of entertainment is being planned as the Guildhall Square, Waterloo Place and the Peace Garden are transformed into a winter wonderland for the event, with Santa Claus himself attending.

Santa is returning to Guildhall Square for the Christmas Lights Switch on. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 23.11.17

Santa is returning to Guildhall Square for the Christmas Lights Switch on. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 23.11.17

The daytime entertainment will get under way at 2pm and run through to 6pm. There will be various acts taking to two stages, including music from Sensation and Superstition and characters from the Millennium Forum and Waterside Theatre’s pantomimes.

Santa’s reindeers meanwhile will be at the Peace Garden in Foyle Street during the day and children are welcome to come along and see them and get their face painted in preparation for Santa arriving at 5.10pm for the Switch On festivities.

The event is being held on a Sunday for the first time to ensure as many people as possible can take part.

The weekend-long Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair also returns this weekend inside the Guildhall.

Sophia Doherty meets one of Santa's Reindeer at a previous Christmas Lights Switch on in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 23.11.17

Sophia Doherty meets one of Santa's Reindeer at a previous Christmas Lights Switch on in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 23.11.17

In Strabane, the Christmas Lights switch-on festivities take place tomorrow (Saturday) from 1pm to 6pm, with Santa arriving and children can witness his elves working hard in the post office to make sure everything is ready for Christmas. There will also be live music, arts and crafts, Christmas markets, walkabout characters, and dance performances before the switching on of the lights at 5pm.

To see the full Christmas listings, including details of switched ons in local villages, visit www.derrystrabane.com/Christmas.

The Snow King and Queen who brought their Winter Wonderland Kingdom to Derry city Centre for the Christmas Lights switch on last year. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 22.11.18

The Snow King and Queen who brought their Winter Wonderland Kingdom to Derry city Centre for the Christmas Lights switch on last year. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 22.11.18