Rallying call as St Annes festive lights ceremony switches to Friday

Crowds in St Annes Square for last year's Saturday switch-on
Crowds in St Annes Square for last year's Saturday switch-on

St Annes’ Christmas lights switch-on will be on a Friday this year for the first time - and a rallying call has been issued for support from the town’s businesses to ensure its success.

As Lytham prepares to signal the start of its festive season with a packed programme of entertainment this Saturday, St Annes Town Council has confirmed it is moving away from the traditional switch-on day, which usually follows a week later, to emulate what appears to be an increasing trend nationally.

The St Annes ceremony will be on November 29, with a programme of entertainment starting at 3.30pm, climaxing with the switch-on itself, including some new lighting features, at 6pm.

St Annes town clerk Sally Taylor said: “In response to comments from traders and looking at other Christmas events across the country, the event has been moved to a Friday evening this year for the first time.

“It is hoped that all businesses take advantage of the event and provide late night opening to benefit from the increased footfall the Christmas switch-on creates within the town.”

The St Annes switch-on will be performed by St Annes town mayor Coun Viv Willder alongside Carnival Queen Georgia Roberts and Father Christmas.

Coun Willder said: “I do hope businesses will stay open longer to make the most of the occasion. We look forward to welcoming lots of people to the ceremony and it is all about collaboration and working together for the benefit of the town.”

Colin Ballard, chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, said: “I can understand the rationale behind a change to Friday evening switch on and hope that the community, residents, businesses and visitors will join around the Square to enjoy the entertainment and see the town lit up for the festive season.”

Arnold Sumner, long-time co-ordinator of the St Annes Chamber of Trade, added: “It is important that everyone does their bit to promote St Annes.”

Adele Chapman, co-proprietor of the Fresh cafe in St Annes Square, said she intends to stay open, probably until 7pm, to provide refreshment for the switch-on crowds.

”When I first heard about the change, I did wonder whether it would be a good thing. On the Saturdays, we have been busy all day, whereas this is happening at the end of a working day.

“But it is important to be positive and aim to make the most of a situation and we will be opening later.

“We already open on Monday evenings through much of the years when the bikers come to town for their weekly get-togethers and that goes down really well.

“We hope the switch to Friday event is a big success.”

But Corrin Green, co-proprietor of The Pavilion cafe in Ashton Gardens with husband Phil, said she was disappointed with the switch.

“Over the years, we have made the most of the switch-on by having attractions of our own, such as rides for children, at The Pavilion but that won’t be feasible now,” she said.

“The whole event appears to have been scaled back and that is disappointing."