Lights launch festive season

First published in News

CHRISTMAS may be more than a month away but the county has a whole host of festive lights events to look forward to, writes Lucy Golding.

Oxford’s Christmas Lights Night will get the seasonal ball rolling next week, and last year attracted 29,000 people.

This year it will be spread over two evenings, starting on Thursday, November 22, when the lights will be swirched on.

The next evening, 300 local school children will walk the streets on a torch-lit procession.

There will be live entertainment on the St Giles’ stage, including music from the Welsh Male Voice Choir and other performance events around the city.

Jacqui Ibbotson, head of culture at Oxford Inspires, said: “We hope, once again, to attract large audiences and launch the holiday season. We work closely with dozens of cultural organisations, performers, artists, community groups and dance groups in order to deliver a magical evening.’ From 5pm until 8pm on Friday, November 23, there will also be a celebration of Christmas past.

The night also includes installations by contemporary artists at Oxford Town Hall organised by the Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency.

A Christmas crafts exhibition will also be held in the Town Hall gallery running from this Saturday until Sunday, January 6.

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The Town Hall will also see a Winter Wonderland Exploration Station offering drop-in arts and crafts for all the family. And Santa can be visited in his grotto on December 15, 20, 21 and 22.

An authentic winter-wonderland experience will be created in Bicester on Thursday, November 29, as the streets will be filled with fake snow.

The evening will start at 4.30pm including singing from local school children and the church choir plus a performance from local singer songwriter Jamie Felton.

On Friday, November 30, the lights of Witney will be turned on by Father Christmas, the winter prince and princess and Witney resident of the year, Don Deany.

Didcot will be holding a vintage themed Christmas Street Fair, including a Christmas market and a full sized carousel.

WHERE TO SEE THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

  •  Oxford – Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23, in the city centre and Templar’s Square on Saturday, November 24.
  • lWoodstock – Saturday, November 24. Lights switched on at 6pm. Late night shopping plus traditional Christmas market in the museum.
  • Banbury – Sunday, November 25. The lights will be switched on by Actors Ryan Thomas and Jack P Shepherd, better known as Coronation Street’s Jason Grimshaw and David Platt. Light switch on and firework display at 5pm.
  • Kidlington – Tuesday, November 27
  • Bicester – Thursday, November 29. Christmas songs and carols begin at 4pm and the lights will be switched on at 7pm.
  • Didcot – Thursday, November 29. Didcot will hold a vintage themed Christmas Street Fair and market, open from 4pm to 9pm.
  • Witney – Friday, November 30 – Langdale Hall from 5.15pm and live music in the market square from 5.40pm.
  • Faringdon – Saturday, December 1. Switch on at 4.30pm.
  • Abingdon – Saturday, December 1. There will be entertainment around town and music on the market place.
  • Wallingford – Sunday, December 2. Event starts at 12.30pm. Stalls set up from the Market Place to St Leonard’s Square.
  • Summertown, Oxford – Thursday, December 6.
  • Wantage – Friday, December 7. Dickensian evening, 6pm to 9pm.

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