THE crowds came out in force for the great Redditch Christmas lights switch on in the town centre on Saturday.
A top line up of guests provided bags of entertainment as fans awaited the arrival of that special guest – Father Christmas – who together with Borough Mayor Juliet Brunner pushed the plunger to switch on the festive lights.
The biggest crowd in years enjoyed a festive parade from the Town Hall, plus performances by Redditch Community Gospel Choir, a children’s choir, Redditch’s very own top selling star Mitch Loveridge plus a full production of a ‘Very Pirate Panto’ by the town’s Pinkberry Productions which had all the children’s eyes glued to the stage.
After the switch on the day closed with a short but dazzling display of LED Hula Hoop magic which mesmerized the crowd.
Mitch, who was promoting his album ’12 Years in the Making’ has another disc already in the pipeline and has been booked to appear at the 02 Islington in London.
He wowed the crowd on Saturday and will next be appearing in Redditch at annual Yule by the School event in Batchley.
The panto proved a massive hit with the children, and while some parents may have been checking their watches as the performance went over time, the youngsters loved every minute of it.
“It’s great to see so many people from the local community out here, getting involved and enjoying a great start to the festive season,” said Domonique Lippert, marketing manager at the Kingfisher Shopping Centre.
Her verdict was echoed by Lindsey Berry from the Town Centre Partnership who added: “It’s the biggest crowd yet and it’s great to see everyone out here and celebrating the switch on of the Christmas Lights.”
Councillor David Bush, who’s portfolio covers the town centre, was fulsome in his praise of the event: “Lindsey has done Redditch proud. In fact all the officers at the council work so hard, they are the heart and soul of what we do and it’s people like them that make events like this happen.
“It’s a great way to start Christmas and to see so many people out here really shows Redditch has a true heart.”
The Mayor, Councillor Brunner, as she waited for Santa to make his way through the crowds of people, said: “I’m thrilled to be here helping Santa to switch on the lights and it’s brilliant to seee so many people here and getting involved.”