Brace your elves: Christmas in Chester is coming!

There is no annual Christmas lights switch-on event this year, the lights will be turned on to coincide with the arrival of the Chester Christmas Market and is just one part of an extensive programme of festive activity which includes the arrival of the CheSTAR and appearances from Father Christmas and his elves.

The 12 Days of Christmas Parade and Spot Santa parade begins at Chester Town Hall Square at 7pm, on November 21.

An enchanting programme of festive activity is heading for Chester with the popular parade marking the start of the holiday season in the city centre, Christmas in Chester gets better every year.

Planned by Chester’s Business Improvement District, CH1ChesterBID, in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council, the annual lights-switch on this year will take place on Friday, November 16 – a change from the traditional Thursday night slot, but there will be no official event.

Created to once again capture the imagination of children and adults alike, the parade will be themed as ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas and Spot Santa’ and will wind its way through the city centre from 7pm.

Starting from Chester Town Hall, chELFie, ELFie and their elf friends will lead the parade followed by a range of local community groups and artists to entertain onlookers and represent the 12 days of Christmas.

Christmas parade Christmas in Chester

A snow machine scattering snowflakes from Santa’s sleigh can also be seen at the beginning of the parade and at key points across the route.

Children will also have the opportunity to meet Chester’s much-loved Christmas elves ChELFie and ELFie.

The loveable elves will also spread festive cheer and help children to spot Santa who will appear on rooftops at five different points during the parade. To add to the magical atmosphere, a live brass band will lead the festive procession, performing popular Christmas carols and songs.

From Chester Town Hall, the parade heads towards St Werburgh Street passed Chester Cathedral, down to Eastgate Street, Bridge Street and around the city centre. Pyrotechnics will also be set off during the parade at Chester Cathedral, Eastgate Clock and The Cross. There will be a firework display at the Amphitheatre and one final show of pyrotechnics at Town Hall.

As part of this year’s celebrations, Chester will also be welcoming back the striking ‘CheSTAR’, which will once again be on display in the grounds of Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street. Comprised of almost 19,000 majestic lights, the 25ft structure has become a much-loved part of Chester’s decorative festive theme since being introduced by CH1ChesterBID back in 2016.

Emily Ghazarian, Events Manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “The annual Christmas lights switch-on really does launch a fantastic period of festive celebration in Chester city centre. It’s always an exciting family occasion.

“On behalf of our businesses, we aim to make sure Christmas in Chester is something not to be missed. We spend months working with local partners and developing activities and events that will benefit our city-centre retailers and encourage visitors into the city.

“Chester is truly magical at this time of year and we hope this Christmas again offers something very special for both residents and visitors.”

Chester’s Christmas Market will also be back in the heart of Chester from November 16 – December 22, with more than 70 traditional wooden chalets situated in the city centre selling quality local and regional products.


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