Complete guide to Sunday’s Big Switch-On of Cambridge’s Christmas lights
Day of festive fun for all the family will feature live music, performances and reindeer.
Cambridge will get that festive feeling on Sunday (November 19) as the ‘Big Switch-On’ takes place, with a host of family entertainment on offer.
Live music, dance performances, confetti canons, real reindeer and more will attract crowds to the city, before Cambridge-born actress Katherine Kingsley switches on the Christmas lights in the market square at 5pm.
Cambridge is one of 10 cities across the country partnering the NSPCC to support its ‘Light Up Christmas for Children’ campaign, raising funds for its services, including Childline.
There will be a bucket collection in the city on Sunday in aid of the children’s charity – and people can donate £4 to the charity by texting LIGHTS 12 to 70800. Sparkling star badges in aid of the NSPCC will also be available to buy from selected outlets across the city.
The Cambridge Independent is for the second year supporting the Big Switch-On, organised by Cambridge BID, and is also working with the NSPCC on its campaign.
Becky Burrell, marketing and commercial manager for Cambridge BID, said: “We are delighted to be staging our fifth Big Switch-On event, which will be extra special this year given that Cambridge has been selected to represent the UK’s Eastern region as part of the NSPCC’s Christmas campaign.
“As with previous years, we will be showcasing a great line-up of music, dance and home-grown talent. We hope that everyone will come out and enjoy what promises to be a really fun day out for all the family – and, at the same time, support the NSPCC’s very worthy campaign to keep children safe from abuse.”
Heart FM will compere festivities in the market square, which will kick off at noon with a big band and continue all day. After Katherine – a star of stage and screen who attended Parkside and Long Road Sixth Form – switches on the lights, a gospel choir will round off the event.
The Grand Arcade will also be hosting activities from 12pm, with choirs and performing arts students, before confetti canons fire glitter 12 metres into the air at 4pm.
The Grafton centre will launch its Giving Tree once again on Sunday. Shoppers can buy a gift or bring it with them and place it, unwrapped, under the huge tree located in Great Court, near the new H&M. These will be given out to children and young people in need. Presents can be donated until Monday, December 20.
Independent traders in the city have arranged for some festive entertainment too.
Thanks to Catherine Jones, the Bridge Street jeweller, two reindeer – Prancer and Blitzen – and their elves will be entertaining visitors to the Round Church Yard on Saturday and Sunday, from 11.30am-3.30pm. There will also be a Christmas sleigh for little ones to climb on to have their photograph taken.
Timings for events and performances across Cambridge on Sunday November 19
■ 12pm: Cambridge University’s 20-piece student big band, Fitz Swing
■ 12.40pm: Fulbourn School Choir
■ 1.10pm Performing arts school Razzamatazz
■ 1.40pm: Busker Tom Korni – aka ‘The One-Boy Band’
■ 2.10pm: The Pauline Quirk Academy performance
■ 2.40pm: Sing! choir
■ 3.10pm: Dance group Splitz
■ 3.40pm: Grammy Award-nominated contemporary acid jazz group Groove Collective
■ 4.20pm: All-female vocal group The Cantabrigians
■ 4.50pm: Actress Katherine Kingsley takes to the stage
■ 5pm: Lights switch-on
■ 5.15pm: Souls Café Gospel Choir
■ 12-12.30pm: Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts
■ 12.40-1.10pm: Cambridge’s Felicità String Quartet
■ 1-5pm: Glitter Envy – two glitter make-up artists offering Christmas designs will be on the first floor
■ 1.20-1.50pm: Sing Choirs!
■ 2-2.30pm: Cambridge Rock Choir
■ 2.40-3.10pm: James & Giant Peach extract by Cambridge Theatre Group – it’s showing at The Great Hall at The Leys from December 19-23
■ 3-4pm: Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Santa will be available for selfies
■ 3.20-3.50pm: Cambridge Rock Choir
■ 3.50-4pm: Lights switch-on with Santa and Jeremy Sallis from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
Round Church Yard
■ 11.30am-3.30pm: Sat-Sun
Live reindeer and sleigh