Derry and Strabane will bring in the festive season with a bang on Saturday, November 23, and Sunday, November 24, with a host of activities and entertainment to mark the switching on of their Christmas lights.
In Strabane on November 23, from 1pm-6pm, Santa will travel to the North West to switch on the lights in Strabane where children can catch a peek of his elves working hard in the post office to make sure everything is ready for Christmas.
There’s lots for the family including live music, arts and crafts, Christmas markets, walkabout characters, dance performances, face painting and some special guests before the switching on of the lights at 5pm.
It’s Derry’s turn on November 24 when Guildhall Square, Waterloo Place and the Peace Garden will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the event which is expected to include a guest appearance from the busiest man in the world at this time of year – Santa Claus.
Entertainment on two stages will include live music from Sensation and Superstition and characters from the Millennium Forum and Waterside Theatre’s pantomimes.
Santa has already booked the Peace Garden in Foyle Street to park his reindeers and children are welcome to go along and view them for themselves and get their face painted in preparation for the main event.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, encouraged the public to get involved in the afternoon of entertainment which runs from 2pm – 6pm.
She said: “Council have a packed Christmas programme planned this year including the Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair, the Strabane Christmas Fayre and my own Christmas events in the Alley Theatre and the Guildhall and everyone is welcome to get involved. The Derry Christmas Lights Switch on has moved to a Sunday this year with a full four hours of activities and entertainment planned.”