Hundreds turn out for Stevenage Christmas lights switch-ons

PUBLISHED: 13:56 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:08 26 November 2018

The Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Crowds in their hundreds turned out for two Christmas lights switch-on events in Stevenage on Thursday and Saturday.

Hundreds turned out to the Stevenage town centre to see in the festive season. Picture: Remi BensonHundreds turned out to the Stevenage town centre to see in the festive season. Picture: Remi Benson

The first of the two took place in Stevenage town centre’s Town Square on Thursday.

The festive event included live music, face painting and more before the big switch-on and fireworks display.

The Voice star Tai Bantick performed at the Stevenage Christmas Lights switch-on. Picture: Remi BensonThe Voice star Tai Bantick performed at the Stevenage Christmas Lights switch-on. Picture: Remi Benson

Taking the stage was Stevenage’s own The Voice star Tai Bantick and James Acraman, who holds the Guinness World Record for sport stacking a 171-cup pyramid in 59.1 seconds.

There was plenty going on off-stage to entertain the crowds, with Christmas markets, food stalls, a selfie snowglobe and fairground rides.

The big switch-on was followed by a finale of fireworks. Picture: Remi BensonThe big switch-on was followed by a finale of fireworks. Picture: Remi Benson

Town centre manager Tina Benson told the Comet: “Members of the public had a brilliant night. We had a variety of activities for children – face painting, meeting Santa and Mrs Clause, and prize draws.

“We also heard from a mix of live performances. with the likes of Dacosta Boyce, saxman Johnny Dingle, Warriorz Performing Acts Academy, 2018 The Voice contestant Tai, and none other than Guinness World Record title holder James Acraman, who switched on the lights.

Hundreds turned out to the Stevenage town centre to see in the festive season. Picture: Remi BensonHundreds turned out to the Stevenage town centre to see in the festive season. Picture: Remi Benson

“The atmosphere had a real festive feel.”

NSPCC volunteers also went along to the event, where the charity launched its Light For Every Child campaign to raise awareness of the growing issue of neglect across the UK.

The big switch-on had entertainment for all, including face painting. Picture: Remi BensonThe big switch-on had entertainment for all, including face painting. Picture: Remi Benson

Jacqui Venters, the NSPCC’s community fundraising manager for Hertfordshire, said: “The NSPCC relies on opportunities like the Stevenage Christmas Lights Switch-On to raise as much funding as possible so we can provide vulnerable children with the support they need.”

A second switch-on took place in Stevenage High Street on Saturday, courtesy of the town’s Old Town Business and Community Partnership.

Dance group IDentity entertained the crowds at the Stevenage Christmas Lights switch-on . Picture: Remi BensonDance group IDentity entertained the crowds at the Stevenage Christmas Lights switch-on . Picture: Remi Benson

From 3pm, Messy Church at the Holy Trinity High Street Methodist Church and Bunyan Baptist made lanterns, ready for the latern parades up to the Bowling Green from 4.45pm.

This was followed by a choir performance led by the Let’s Sing children’s choir.

Cast members from this year's pantomine Snow White also took to the stage at the Stevenage lights switch-on. Picture: Remi BensonCast members from this year's pantomine Snow White also took to the stage at the Stevenage lights switch-on. Picture: Remi Benson

Christmas poster competition winners Sam Gray and Anita Hosea then pressed the all-important red button at 5.30pm to illuminate the Old Town with its festive display and Christmas tree.

Hundreds turned out to the Stevenage town centre to see in the festive season. Picture: Remi BensonHundreds turned out to the Stevenage town centre to see in the festive season. Picture: Remi Benson

The big switch-on had entertainment for all, including face painting. Picture: Remi BensonThe big switch-on had entertainment for all, including face painting. Picture: Remi Benson

Guiness World Record holder for sport stacking, James Acraman switched on the lights this year. Picture: Remi BensonGuiness World Record holder for sport stacking, James Acraman switched on the lights this year. Picture: Remi Benson

Volunteers for the NSPCC were at the Stevenage town centre Christmas lights switch-on on Thursday to launch a new campaign. Picture: NSPCCVolunteers for the NSPCC were at the Stevenage town centre Christmas lights switch-on on Thursday to launch a new campaign. Picture: NSPCC

The Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOO

Poster competition winners Anita Horsea and Sam Gray switch on the Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights. Picture: DANNY LOOPoster competition winners Anita Horsea and Sam Gray switch on the Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Stevenage Old Town Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DANNY LOO

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