It’s the most wonderful time of the year – this weekend sees the beginning of Courier Country’s fantastic festive lights switch-on events. From large-scale entertainment to smaller community-led events, the streets of cities, towns and villages will soon be sparkling as the countdown to Christmas begins.
Tomorrow sees the streets of Dundee’s city centre transformed into a sparkling Christmas wonderland of family fun, torch-lit processions, brightly-coloured lights, carnival rides, singing and dancing – as well as a special appearance by Santa Claus.
In the build up to Santa’s switch on of the city’s spectacular Christmas lights, from 9am until 4pm, the Christmas Light Night’s traditional Festival Market will provide Christmas shoppers with gift ideas and delicious local foodie treats.
One of the exciting new additions to the Christmas Light Night programme is the Silent Knights Disco – a chance to explore the streets of Dundee while dancing to your favourite Christmas songs. And the dancing will continue at 7pm, when City Square will become the venue for the Massive Christmas Ceilidh, while a festive street theatre, a fun fair, a nativity play in the Steeple Church and performances in the City Square by local choirs, SambaYaBamba and Dundee Rep’s Snow Queen, ensure fun for all the family.
For younger members of the family, the Mini-Lights Switch On at Albert Square will provide a quieter, less crowded spot to celebrate. As well as a live video link to the City Square’s Christmas Lights Switch On, children can count down to the lighting up of Pingoo, Albert Square’s adorable Christmas penguin, and then dance in the disco tent.
Tomorrow evening, between 6pm and 9pm, will also see, for the first time ever, the largest ever Beano annual cover, using state-of-the-art projection technology to beam an exclusive animated version on to the front of DC Thomson’s flagship Meadowside building facing the McManus.
Mike Stirling, head of Beano Studios Scotland, says: “We’re excited that the Beano annual will retain its spot as the top-selling annual in the world this year, our 80th anniversary. Visitors will witness it literally unwrapped and flicked through, so we will be able to declare it the biggest annual in the world in every way possible.
“We will also be sharing some of the most beloved and recognisable annual covers of Christmas past, with our top 10 Christmas Beano annual covers – the opportunity for the ultimate Dundee Christmas selfie!” he continues.
“We’ll also be revealing a major change to the look of Dennis, as he dons a Christmas jumper – one that isn’t red and black stripes for the first time ever. Gnasher and Minnie have challenged him to rebel against our expectations, so I can’t wait to see what Dennis chooses…” he smiles.
At 6.15pm in Perth tomorrow the lights will be switched on by the Provost of Perth and Kinross, Dennis Melloy, who will be joined on stage by a host of stars and special guests – including Pixie Lott, James Arthur and Stephen Mulhern. The Perth Festive Feast carrying on the fun on Sunday, including an edible map of cake, the Great Perthshire Soup Competition finale, and day two of the Perth Chocolate and Gin Festival.
Elsewhere in Perthshire, Pitlochry will host its Christmas Festival on December 1 and events will include festive table-top stalls throughout the town, a programme of children’s activities, and a winter barbecue. The fourth annual Christmas Trees Festival at Pitlochry Church of Scotland will culminate in the switch on of the town Christmas tree lights outside Fishers Hotel at 4pm.
Aberfeldy’s Santa Parade and Christmas lights switch on will take place on December 1 at 4pm with a Christmas market, Santa’s Parade with the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, fancy dress floats and carol singing round the Christmas tree in the Square with three choirs: the community choir, the Gaelic choir and the school choir.
The pretty Perthshire town of Crieff also has a lot going on for this festive season, with highlights including the Christmas lights switch on November 24 at 4.30pm. The event, which will take place in James Square, will feature love music, a market, rides and ,of course, an extra special visitor.
In Fife, Kirkcaldy’s 30th Reindeer Parade takes place on Sunday at the Mercat. Santa and his reindeer will be led by Kirkcaldy & District Pipe Band fron 12pm with Kingdom Radio Street Team. Look out for the free antler hats and giveaways.
Meanwhile, in Angus, the annual Forfar Christmas Lights Switch On takes place at The Cross on November 30, 6pm-8pm. There will be special guest appearances by Mrs Claus, the elves and Chase and Skye from Paw Patrol.
Arbroath Christmas lights switch-on November 30 6pm-8pm, with Santa arriving at about 7.30pm, so why not bring your letters for him on the night? There will also be a craft market from 12 midday till 8pm in Market Place.
Carnoustie’s official switch-on takes place in the High Street at the War Memorial on November 25, 5pm-8pm so save the date for some Christmas shopping and community festivities.