Thousands of people flocked to Manchester city centre for the annual Christmas Lights Switch-On, marking the start of the festive season in Santa’s favourite city.
The Manchester Christmas Light Switch-on, in association with Key 103, has become the beginning of Christmas for generations of Manchester people, and this year was a part to remember.
Albert Square became Britain’s biggest entertainment venue as thousands of people watched performances from some of the most loved stars in the business.
Soap favourite, Catherine Tydlesley, best known for her role in Corrie delighted the crowds with a musical number, showcasing her fantastic voice with a medley of Santa Baby and Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, before welcoming her co-star Kym Marsh on stage to push the button on this year’s Christmas lights.
Catherine Tyldesley said of the switch-on show: “Manchester is my favourite city, not just because it’s my home but because we don’t anything by halves. The merriment outside on the square was overwhelming!”
Live performances from indie pop favourites Scouting for Girls and chart topping R&B star Lemar, hyped the audience beautifully with a selection of crowd pleasing favourites and new material.
Gary Barlow appeared before the crowds via the digital screens to wish Manchester a very merry Christmas ahead of his new musical, The Girls, which starts at the Lowry in the New Year.
Lucy O’Bryne, star of the Sound of Music at The Lowry – and winner of the BBC’s The Voice competition – gave Albert Square a memorable rendition of the class The Hills Are Alive as the audience all but took over during a boisterous sing-along.
The star of the Opera House’s Cinderalla, Eloise Davies, was given a warm reception from the happy crowd, which included many younger members excited to see the fairytale icon.
The night was opened and pulses set racing by the choreography of the Printwork’s Street Dance competition winners, Aim Sky High Company, from Stretford, following a rousing choral performance of “Fairy tale of New York” from the ever brilliant Manchester Show Choir.
The event concluded with a 10-minute fireworks spectacular.
Lit for the first time this year, Manchester’s Giant Santa has returned newly refurbished with 90,000 glowing LED lights – a true icon of Christmas in the city.
Follow him on twitter: @MCRSanta for a unique perspective on the festive season.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester Christmas spokesperson, said: “Tonight we have broken all records and we’ve had the most amazing start to our festive season. Seeing Albert Square filled with thousands of people – and of all ages – it feels like the whole of Manchester has come down today. All the acts were fantastic and the crowd has been brilliant.
“Our switch-on show is the real start to Christmas for generations of Mancunians and now our Giant Santa has been refurbished, he’s so bright and sparkling I would think he can be seen from space! I wouldn’t be surprised if we get visitors from another world ready to celebrate the festive season now Santa has been turned on.
“But, of course, we’ve only just begun. The markets are back next Saturday, so between now and then, the city will be transformed in readiness for more than six weeks of Christmas in Manchester.”
Manchester’s award winning Christmas Markets will open officially to the public next week on Saturday 14 November, spreading across 10 sites in the city centre with 350 stalls.
The Markets are the UK’s ORIGINAL, BIGGEST and
Pictures Copyrighted to Mark Waugh (www.markwaugh.net)
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