Another succesful Switch On

9th December 2019

Visitors flocked to Lancaster city centre on Sunday 24th November, to take part in a festive day of fun. The annual Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On event returned, alongside CancerCare's popular Santa dash, festive 5K & 10K, fairground ride, food stalls and ice rink!

The Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On was a great success and footfall cameras showed a 32% increase of people in the city compared to the previous few Sundays and Penny Street had its busiest Sunday so far in 2019.

The Santa Dash returned, this year with the inclusion of a festive 5k and 10K, for those wanting an extra challenge! Santa's dashed around Lancaster city centre, some in for the long haul and some just to do the leisurely dash with participants of all ages taking part.

Kat Michaels, Community Fundraiser for CancerCare said: "We had a great turnout for this year's event. This year was the launch of our festive 5K & 10K race, which proved popular for people wanting a bit more of a test! It was great to be part of the Lancaster BID Switch On Event again this year, it's always a hugely popular day and we hope to be involved for many years to come."

The child who raised the most money for CancerCare also got to turn the Christmas lights on, with Santa and the headline acts. Winner of the prize for raising the most sponsorship money this year was the Harrison family from Heysham and sisters Annie and Amelie Harrison had the honour of switching on the lights with all the headliners.

The highlight of the day was once again the main stage show in Market Square. The stage show featured popular acts to cater for a range of demographics. The event was compered by Radio presenter Chris Kirk once again with Jake Quickenden and N Trance who headlined the event, alongside Children's TV presenter Mr Bloom, who was extremely popular with young families. There were also performances from Zoe Unsworth, Emelia, Josh Marshall Band and local acts Lancaster Grand Theatre Panto cast and Stagecoach Performing Arts School Choir.

Organisers, Lancaster BID also ran a competition to meet and greet the headliners, which saw delighted fans who were thrilled to meet their idols.  

The lights being switched on also didn't disappoint. This year's Christmas lights were enhanced once again by two 20ft real Christmas trees standing tall behind the stage, funded by the businesses of Lancaster (via Lancaster BID) and this year sponsored by Holdens Solicitors. To further enhance the festive lights display, Lancaster BID has invested in bringing Ffrances Passage and Gage Street to life to encourage people from the Ice Rink to venture into the City. New for 2019 were the lights on Gage Street and the renaming of Ffrances Passage as Santa's Passage for the festive period. Santa and his sleigh have also flown into town and landed above Dalton Square Pharmacy. The new lights are targeted to help draw skaters across into the city centre to benefit from the numerous Santa's Savers offers available after skating at Lancaster On Ice.

Lancaster BID Events & Marketing Coordinator, Victoria Muir, said: "The Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On is incredibly popular. It reliably brings in a record number of people to the city centre, bringing with them huge economic benefit for the businesses who operate here. We tried to make sure this event was up to the standard of previous years and had a lot of different elements, with three races, fairground rides, meet and greets, food stalls and an ice rink. Lancaster has so much to offer in many areas, and the same can definitely be said about the official launch weekend of the festive season. We've been organising this event for a number of years now, and it's great to see that we are learning and improving the event each year, to make it something different and extremely positive for the city. A huge thank you needs to be given to the businesses of Lancaster, as well as partners including Cancer Care, St.Nics, Lancaster City Council, South Lakes Windows, Lancaster Guardian, Lancaster House Hotel, Holdens Solicitors and The Duchy of Lancaster, who all made this FREE day of festive fun possible for all to enjoy."

The Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On acts as a catalyst for Christmas shopping in Lancaster and with that comes free parking too. Each Thursday evening Lancaster will be open for late night shopping. Lancaster City Council car parks will offer free parking on Thursday evenings from 5pm, as well as all day Sunday in the run up to Christmas.

The Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On was the first event in Lancaster BID's "Winter In The City" campaign, which sees various events throughout November and December. This has already seen a successful Reindeer Day, with upcoming events including Meet the Makers 12th - 15th December, Christmas At The Castle on 14th and 15th December and Lancaster Priory Candlelit Spectacular 20th - 21st December.  Of course Lancaster on Ice is also open right through until 5th January along with the Lancaster BID sponsored Santa's Saver offers where you can claim offers and enter prize draws in 65 businesses in the city by simply showing your skating wristband.

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