Stalls and street entertainment are highlights of Christmas Lights Event

Christmas shoppers and those hoping to catch early sight of Santa Claus are in for a treat at the Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Event on Thursday November 18. The night which traditionally launches the build up to the festive season in the town will have a new look this year to enable people to practice social distancing as they look around the town centre.

The Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights will be on from November 18 (credit: Allegro Creative Agency/Our Bury St Edmunds)

The very popular annual Christmas Charity Market will host stalls from local good causes and community organisations and a number of town centre businesses will also be participating. Street entertainment will include stilt walkers, a magician, Victorian carol singers and the Salvation Army band playing Christmas music. A variety of food stalls and a funfair will complete the evening and Santa’s sleigh along with elves and the man himself will be on hand to hear about wish lists or find out who’s been naughty or nice this year.

This will be the fourth free-admission town centre event organised since May by Our Bury St Edmunds, which manages the Business Improvement District (BID) but, as with all the other events, keeping visitors as Covid-safe as possible has been uppermost in the planning stages.

Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds Mark Cordell said: “In the past there has been great excitement as a crowd has gathered at the stage for the countdown to the Switch On. This year we appreciate that people may not want to crowd together – in fact many are likely to want to do the exact opposite. Therefore we’ve taken the difficult decision not to have a stage, which encourages crowds to stand in front of it watching the different performances and the countdown to the Switch On.

“After careful consideration about the best way to give everyone the opportunity to stay as safe as possible without missing anything, we’ve decided that the lights will be on as the event opens and as darkness starts to fall visitors will be able to wander around the town to see the Christmas Tree, our brand-new free-standing lights, which will be on display for the first time and all the other much loved illuminations.”

The evening will also see the launch of the Our Bury St Edmunds Twelve Days of Christmas Trail which is being run in partnership with HSBC UK. The interactive trail will take in twelve locations around the town centre and those who find all of them have a chance to take part in a prize draw with a total of 14 Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Cards to be won.

Mark Cordell added: “At the events we’ve held so far this year our visitors have welcomed the opportunity to walk around the town centre and find activities spread across a number of locations. We know how disappointing it was not to have a Christmas Lights Event at all last year so I hope this will encourage people to come back into town, meet up with friends or family and share some Christmas cheer.”

The Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Event runs from 3pm to 8pm. It will also include live broadcasting by community station RWSfm 103.3 throughout the afternoon and evening.