Chichester to dazzle with lights spectacular

The Christmas light switch-on will be followed by a fireworks grand finale in West Street sponsored by John Lewis at home
The Christmas light switch-on will be followed by a fireworks grand finale in West Street sponsored by John Lewis at home

THE CITY is set to be illuminated with more lights than ever before, with a Christmas light switch-on to remember.

It is time to wrap up and take to the streets of Chichester tomorrow for some festive fun.

The event will see a whole host of streets lit up for the fist time during the festive season.

Thanks to a joint venture between the City Centre Partnership, Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry and John Lewis at home, Chichester is set to welcome the festive season in style.

This year the city will be brighter than ever before, with lights extending from the bus station and train station, to the top of North Gate, St Pancras and the Hornet, to the bottom of West Street.

The Christmas lights switch-on event is funded by the city, for the city, with 750 business premises contributing towards paying for the lights in a venture that forms part of the City Centre Partnerships’s Business Improvement District (BID) initiative.

“The BID partnership was set up to draw the business community together in difficult times and this will be a major demonstration of what can be achieved for the community,” said Andrew Finnamore, chairman of the City Centre Partnership.

“The partnership are trying to give the general public a platform to enjoy the Christmas festive season and that comes with all of the lights and the Christmas feel in the 

“It all starts on the 24th with all sorts of things going on to encourage people to come and see the city, we are really looking forward to it,” Mr Finnamore added.

It is the first time that the City Centre partnership have been involved in managing the Christmas light switch-on event, which is bursting with activities for all the family.

What is on offer?

The festive cheer kicks off tomorrow morning from 9am, with a number of stalls selling festive goods, including Christmas wreaths from Rococo florists, mince pies from Spires Bakery, and charity Children on the edge will be selling their 2013 calenders.

There will be a selection of activities on offer for children, from balloon model-makers to face painting, stilt walkers and juggling with Mr Alexander’s Travelling Show.

Father Christmas will be waiting outside the Council House to meet the children all day and there will be magical fun from Nick Stein and Dan the Hat in their magic show.

For the first time, South Street and West Street will be closed to all traffic from 4pm-8pm, with shops on all streets opening until 8pm.

A free game of Chichester Community Chess is also on offer, and the three Rotary Clubs of Chichester will be giving a blessing of the Christmas tree at The Cross at 5pm, which has been dressed professionally for the first time.

The Christmas lights will be switched on at 7pm in West Street by the Mayor of Chichester and Claire Dunkason, manager of John Lewis at home, followed by a grand finale with a fireworks display over the Cathedral Spire, sponsored by John Lewis at home.

Spirit FM will be there offering a sound track for the evening, along with school choirs singing traditional Christmas carols, The Rock Choir and Petworth Band.

The lucky winners of this year’s Christmas window competition will also be announced before the big firework finale.

With a number of in-store promotions with dressed up staff, late night shopping, festive stalls and street entertainers, the switch on is set to be an event for all the family to remember.

Christmas Craft Market

Chichester will also be home to the Christmas Craft Market between December 8-16 in the pedestrianised areas of North Street and East Street.

Over 50 festive stalls will have a variety of traditional and modern crafts on offer.

The market will be open from 9am-5.30pm Monday- Wednesday, 9am-8pm on Thursday, 9am-5.30pm Friday and Saturday and 10am-4.30pm Sundays.