The countdown to Christmas officially began in Rochdale on Sunday, 24 November 2019 with the lights switch-on, a festive market and lots of family entertainment at Rochdale Town Hall.
More than 3,000 people attended the council-organised event which included a festive market in the Great Hall, family entertainment, food and drink. The town hall was the biggest light of them all, lit in spectacular multi-colours especially for the evening.
Amongst the fun was craft sessions by The Star Tree Studio and face painting for children. 'The Melody Hub' hosted taster sessions for budding young musicians. Seasonal food and drink was served along with performances by Rochdale Wardle Community Brass Band and Rochdale Music Service who entertained a packed hall with Christmas favourites. A Christmas Café on the ground floor as well as outdoor stalls served hot food and mulled wine for those waiting for the switch on.
Outside there was an nearly an hour of live music from Fat Cat Brass, a beautiful winter fairy, along with colourful '2 Calling Birds' from the 12 Days of Christmas song, accompanied by lots more street theatre performances providing a sparkling festive treat.
As the town hall clock struck 5, Rochdale Music Service played a fanfare as comedian Mike Newman appeared on the balcony to introduce guests from the 2019 Middleton Arena pantomime
'Cinderella' – West End star Shane Nolan and singer-actress Jesamine Oldman. They were followed by the Mayor, Councillor Billy Sheerin, Rochdale AFC Manager Brian Barry-Murphy and Father Christmas to help switch on the lights for 2019.
The Mayor said:
"What a truly wonderful family event, we've had such a busy day, the crowds were excellent. Days like this are a great showcase for our town hall and town centre. I hope to see everyone back here over the next few weeks supporting our local businesses, restaurants and events. There are lots more festive activities over the next 5 weeks, beginning with our Christmas Artisan Market this Saturday (30 November)."
As the lights were switched on, the town hall was also bathed in a spectacular rainbow of colour by New Image Lighting, as festive music played.
Events manager Sue Taylor added: "It was great to see so many families enjoying themselves. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the event. I would also like to thank all the local businesses who took part and all our performers."
On Saturday, 30 November 2019, the lights are switched on in Littleborough town centre. The event runs from 4pm-6pm.