Festive celebrations are stepping up in Harrogate this week as the town prepares for its big Christmas lights switch-on.
Crowds will gather outside the Victoria Shopping Centre for the big switch on next Thursday evening, November 20.
The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Jim Clark, will be joined onstage by dignitaries, Father Christmas, and a variety of local musicians for the main event at 6pm.
“There will be a really good show of local talent,” said Coun John Fox, chairman of Harrogate at Christmas. “There’s plenty going on!”
Garlands of lights, around £25,000 worth, have started to appear around the town centre and build up to the main event will begin from 4pm with presenters from Stray FM.
There will be live performances from local groups including My Forever, who have featured on Radio 1, the Harrogate Gang Show of local Scouts and Guides, Highfield School Choir, Royalty 3, and the Rock Up and Sing choir.
But the main event is always the arrival of Father Christmas, said Coun Fox.
“The majority of people bring children and come as families,” he said.
“People do like the lights, but it’s Father Christmas they come to see.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase local talent, and it’s the start of the festive season.”
This year’s lights switch on, sponsored by CNG, is hoped to help raise money for a local charitable group. There will be bucket collections with the proceeds to go to the St Peter’s Church breakfast club for homeless people in Harrogate.
The Christmas lights switch on will be followed by a short carol service at St Peter’s Church at 6.15pm, and all are invited to join.
And once again, students from Harrogate College have been challenged to create a sculpture to form part of the Christmas display.
The winning design, ‘Christmas Baubles’, is made up of handmade fibreglass baubles.
The sculpture will be unveiled on Station Square in a ceremony on Tuesday evening, November 18.