Issue Date: 25th October 2019

York’s city-wide festive celebrations will get underway from a new venue next month, when Duncombe Place hosts the traditional launch of St Nicholas Christmas Fair and the switching on of the city’s ever-growing collection of winter lights, from 6pm on Thursday 14 November 2019.

The event is jointly organised by Make It York and York Business Improvement District, and will be hosted by Town Crier Ben Fry and Laura Castle from Minster FM and BBC Radio York’s Georgey Spanswick.  A stage will be set up in Duncombe Place to host the festivities, with music performances ahead of the official lighting up of the streets, which takes place at 7pm.

“This is one of the most popular events in the city calendar, and with more and more people turning out each year to mark the start of the festive season, we’ve moved the event to the larger venue of Duncombe Place, where we can more comfortably accommodate the larger numbers,” comments Make It York’s Managing Director, Sean Bullick.  “The magnificent backdrop of York Minster reminds us of the reason behind our Christmas celebrations – and there are plans afoot to add some extra sparkle, too.”

Indeed, York BID – which organises York’s annual display of Christmas lights throughout the city centre – has commissioned even more lights for Duncombe Place, including sympathetic lighting that will highlight well known landmarks such as the Boer War Memorial, St Michael Le Belfry and the Minster.

“Creating a welcoming winter lights scheme for the city – including the historic Bar gateways themselves – has been one of the most visible parts of York BID’s work over the last few years, funded by city centre businesses to give the city even wider appeal during the darker, winter months,” comments Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID.  “We try to extend the displays slightly each year, and with the move of the light switch-on to Duncombe Place, we’ve added a number of new elements here, which will no doubt delight hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to the city centre to stay, shop and socialise at this special time of year.”

Lights and projections will also adorn the magnificent West Front of York Minster for the event, with plans to use the lights periodically in the run-up to Christmas when there are not services or events taking place inside.

York Minster’s Canon Chancellor, The Revd Canon Dr Christopher Collingwood said: “York in winter is an absolute gem, full of light, energy and excitement and people preparing for the festive season. York BID and Make It York have worked wonders in extending the lighting show to Duncombe Place and in designing the Minster into the scheme. We hope that the lights will not only draw people to view the Minster but also encourage them to come inside. They will find a warm welcome and quiet spaces to rest and reflect upon the real meaning of Advent and Christmas.”

More information about the special guests appearing at the Christmas Lights Switch-on will be released closer to the event.  For details on the St Nicholas Fair and the Christmas activities going on around the city see www.visityork.org/whats-on/christmas

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