Thousands expected at Sheffield Christmas lights switch-on tonight

The Sheffield Christmas light switch on in 2014
The Sheffield Christmas light switch on in 2014

Thousands of people are expected to pack the streets of Sheffield tonight as the city’s Christmas lights are switched on.

The big switch-on takes place at 5.30pm in the Peace Gardens and will be carried out by Sheffield’s ‘Mad Man With a Pram’, charity fundraiser John Burkhill.

He will be joined on stage by those appearing in this year’s Sheffield Theatres production of Aladdin, including Coronation Street actor Chris Gascoyne, who plays Peter Barlow.

The weather is expected to be milder than yesterday, but people will still need to wrap up warm with temperatures due to be around 4C.

Entertainment starts in the city centre from 2pm, with performances from the likes of girl band Stooshe and X Factor singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan scheduled.

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “I’m really looking forward to this year’s event, and hope that people of all ages will enjoy the ever-popular Christmas light switch on.

“The theme is a traditional Christmas, with a focus on the Christmas tree in front of the Town Hall. The city centre will be illuminated to add some sparkle through to New Year.

“The Christmas market will also be open in Fargate, giving opportunities to buy that unusual gift and also festive food and drink.”

Throughout Sunday afternoon, Christmas crafts will be taking place in the Winter Garden, which will be transformed into an enchanted Winter Wonderland complete with an elf trail, a fairy grotto, carol singing and storytelling.

Father Christmas will be in his Grotto on Fargate, families can take a ride on a fire engine and play on the National Emergency Services Museum’s display of emergency vehicles in Barkers Pool, and children’s characters will be meeting the crowds outside the Town Hall and in the Peace Gardens.

Activity will begin on The Moor from 12.30pm on Sunday, with a living nativity, children’s rides and real reindeer, before The Moor’s Christmas lights are switched on at 4pm.

Christmas lights will then be switched on in Orchard Square at 4.30pm, before the spotlight moves to the main stage in the Peace Gardens. Those who prefer to be away from the heart of the action will be able to watch the acts appearing in the Peace Gardens on a big screen in Pinstone Street.

The Christmas market will also be open in traditional wooden cabins along Fargate, selling crafts, jewellery, clothing, gifts and a range of hot and cold refreshments.

Independent traders from across the UK and Europe are open from 10am to 6pm daily throughout November. In December, the market will also be open until 8pm each Wednesday.

The Christmas light switch-on is being organised in conjunction with partners Heart.

In a statement, DJs Dixie and Emma from Heart’s Breakfast show said: “We both love getting into the festive spirit with everyone at the Sheffield Christmas lights.

“It’s such an amazing event and we’re so happy to be back.”