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Derry's Christmas lights to be switched on virtually today

Annual city centre event call off because of pandemic

Derry's Christmas lights to be switched on virtually next week

The Mayor and Santa get ready for the switch-on of Derry's lights.

Derry's Christmas lights will be switched on virtually later today.

The annual switch-on event traditionally attracts tens of thousands of families to the centre of Derry but it will be broadcast online this year to allow the public to enjoy it from the safety of their homes.

The switch-ons will take place today at 5pm and will be broadcast live on derrystrabane.com/christmas and the Mayor's social media accounts.

The event will mark the start of the council's Christmas Programming for 2020 which includes the Mayor's Virtual Christmas Tea Dance and online Christmas activities for families.

"The turning on of our Christmas lights is normally one of our biggest events of the year, marking the beginning of the festive season," said Mayor Tierney.

"While current restrictions mean we can't gather physically to mark it, I am delighted that families can still experience the lights being turned on together in their homes before making a trip into our retail centres over the festive season to view them safely for themselves.

“The kids are sure to enjoy this magical virtual story and see the adventures along the way, of how my journey with Santa Claus’ journey unfolded in order to get to the town and city in time to light them up for Christmas.

"Despite the restrictions, Council officers have designed an innovative programme of events that will allow the public to celebrate Christmas safely and enhance the visitor and shopper offering in Derry and Strabane.

"This year has presented unprecedented challenges for local businesses, many of whom have been closed or are operating at a limited capacity, so I would appreciate if the public can make a particularly conscious effort to support them by shopping and gifting local this Christmas."

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