Paul McKenna, Estates Manager at the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, tells us about this year's Christmas Lights Switch On.
This is an exciting time of year at the Heritage Foundation, as our teams work with Letchworth BID to stage the Christmas Lights Switch On. Year after year crowds brave the wet and cold weather to attend this event which has become a tradition. This year’s switch on took place on Saturday 22 November and as ever, attracted a huge crowd.
As in previous years there was a vast array of entertainment provided on the main stage and diverse mix of stalls offering a variety of foods, drinks, activities and numerous other offerings throughout the course of the afternoon and evening. All this was preceded by the Santa Parade where people also had the chance to meet the characters from Broadway Theatre’s first resident production The Wind in the Willows.
Every year, the Heritage Foundation funds and organises the installation of Christmas lights, while the BID organises the firework display. Garden Square Shopping Centre also plays their part in illuminating and decorating the shopping centre. Town centre events such as this may look seamless, but they would not be possible without the great collaboration and coordination that exists between these organisations and local businesses.
Managing the entire process can be tricky, from small things like making sure all the lightbulbs work, to making sure they are installed and will operate safely. In recent years we saw a tightening of the festive lighting guidance from the Council. THis meant that some elements of the lighting scheme had to be reduce or not included – meaning one or two areas have fewer lights mainly the Wynd and the lower section of Leys Avenue. We plan to talk to the Council in early 2020 to look at how we can make the most of our Christmas lights next year. We look forward to working with the Letchworth BID and Hertfordshire County Council to achieve this.
In the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed the event we’ve put on this year, and I wish you a very Happy Christmas, and a great New Year.