Rochdale’s Christmas lights switch on – everything you need to know
Date published: 14 November 2021
The switch-on will be held at Rochdale Riverside for the first time
The countdown to Christmas begins in Rochdale on Saturday (20 November) with the Christmas lights switch-on at Rochdale Riverside and special magical family entertainment spread across the town centre.
In addition to stunning Christmas lights, there will be a series of very special light displays and live street theatre from 3.30pm when the build up to the switch-on begins.
From The Butts to Rochdale Riverside, you’ll see spectacular illuminated street theatre and displays delivering a bright festive treat for all the family. These include Spark! – a mesmerising show combining high impact drumming with kaleidoscopic lighting and music. Heliosphere – a giant colourful balloon will be rising above the river in the town centre suspending an aerial acrobat. Mystifying and inspiring, Heliosphere is a popular attraction at stadiums across the world. Also at the switch-on will be Moths at Work - collecting smiles and laughs from everyone. Giant brightly coloured Winter Wonderland Birds from the ’12 Days of Christmas’ song will meet visitors and don’t miss the Curiosity Christmas Tree – a cross between a giant marble run and a magical clockwork toy, with tinkling bells and lights. Making a guest appearance will be Sybil the baby whale created by Littleborough Arts Festival.
When and where to see the entertainment
Heliosphere – 3.30pm, 4.15pm and 5pm (Bridge over River Roch)
Sybil the baby whale – 3.30pm, 4.10pm and 4.30pm (End of Baillie Street)
Winter Wonderland Birds, Moths at Work and Glow Show from Travelling Light Circus – 3.30pm, 4.10pm (Rochdale Riverside/Baillie Street)
Curiosity Christmas Tree – 3.30pm, 4.10pm and 4.30pm (Pedestrian area opposite Number One Riverside)
Spark! – 3.30pm, 4.10pm and 4.30pm (From Number One Riverside, through Rochdale Riverside and on to Baillie Street)
The Rochdale switch-on is also the first time you’ll get to see Gaia, the internationally renowned stunning replica of planet earth that will be on display at Number One Riverside for five weeks. Also inside Number One Riverside especially for the Christmas Lights Switch-On will be digital sound and light installation - the Celestial Sound Cloud, so as you move around the ground floor you’ll activate musical notes, voices and magical lights (10am – 5pm).
Outside there will be hot food, mulled wine and other seasonal drinks as well as children’s face painting.
Father Christmas, the deputy mayor and special guests will officially switch-on the lights at approximately 4pm at Rochdale Riverside, and outdoor family entertainment continues until 5.30pm.
Before you head home you’re welcome to enjoy a meal or a drink in one of the nearby restaurants or bars – you’ll be spoilt for choice and many are doing special Christmas lights switch-on deals too, including 25% off at Crust Pizza and two for one on desserts at Heavenly desserts between 4pm-7pm. Find out more at www.rochdale.gov.uk/christmas
With entertainment spread out from Baillie Street through to Rochdale Riverside and Number One Riverside, councillor Sue Smith, cabinet member for communities and co-operation said there will be space to enjoy the event safely:
“We want you to enjoy the day in a Covid-safe way and remember to social distance from people you don’t normally mix with. The switch-on event was missed last year but I am pleased to see it return, it really does kickstart the festivities. With food and drink and street theatre to entertain all the family there will be something for everyone. It’s also a chance to support local shops and businesses.”
Everyone attending the event is encouraged to take all precautions to prevent catching or spreading Covid-19, including getting regularly tested.
Rachel Byrne, centre manager for Rochdale Riverside added: “It’s set to be a special day at Rochdale Riverside and will really kick-off the festive countdown in style! We also have a variety of festivities planned on-site throughout the Christmas season and hope we can create an amazing experience for the people of Rochdale to come together and celebrate.”
On Saturday 20 November there will be additional free parking at Hopwood Hall College, Rochdale Campus, St Mary's Gate, Rochdale, OL12 6RY.
Christmas switch on events are also taking in place in:
- Heywood town centre, Saturday 20 November – 3pm to 5.30pm, organised by Heywood Business Group.
- Middleton town centre, Sunday 21 November – 1pm to 5pm organised by Middleton Township.
- Littleborough town centre, Saturday 27 November – 3.30pm to 6pm organised by LEAF.
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