CHRISTMAS is definitely on its way to Comet country, with both Letchworth GC and Hitchin lighting up in their town centre switch-ons last week.

Friday night saw a crowd of over 2,000 witness Santa lead the Letchworth GC lights countdown, as special guests the Gentle family pressed down the plunger to cue the pyrotechnics and streamers.

The evening started with a tribute Elvis taking the stage at 4pm and performing classic hits such as Suspicious Minds and All Shook Up before the cast of Cinderella, this year’s panto at Plinston Hall from S.P.A.D.S, offered a sneak preview of their show.

One Voice Music was joined on stage by Edun Ara before they took part in a small procession through Eastcheap and Leys Avenue with our guest of honour in tow.

Before the night was out the Letchworth Community Choir gave the gathered crowds the chance to get involved with Christmas carols.

“It has been a wonderful evening, despite the chill we have seen an even bigger turn out than last year and our Elvis tribute act has been absolutely amazing,” said town centre manager Lee Boswell.

“We did experience an overload on the system which caused a short power cut. Clearly there was just too much excitement for the fuses to cope!

“However, the back up generators kicked in and so we were able to get back to the fun without too much of a break. Peter Wright and his team did an amazing job in ensuring that we were fully operational in plenty of time for the big switch on.”

In Hitchin there were a number of festive treats on offer including a late night market and children’s entertainment in the mix.

The celebrations culminated at 6pm in the Market Square, with pupils from Hitchin Boys School and Cllr Judi Billing switching on the town’s Christmas tree.

Heart Radio breakfast presenters Stuart and Natalie were also present and the Rock Choir performed some music.

“It was a bitterly cold Friday night but it was a good crowd and a good atmosphere,” said town centre manager Keith Hoskins.

“The late night market was there, with some fairground rides for the children and lots of mulled wine and roast chestnuts on offer.”

*For a gallery of photos from the Letchworth GC switch-on, courtesy of Paul Winterton Photography, click on the link at the top right of the page.