Rotary clubs to host Christmas lights event for city

DM17113672a.jpg Switching on of Chichester's Christmas light, late night shopping and firework display, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171124-094925008
DM17113672a.jpg Switching on of Chichester's Christmas light, late night shopping and firework display, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171124-094925008

Chichester’s rotary clubs are organising their own switch-on event for the community Christmas tree with a candlelit procession and live music, despite a ‘soft launch’ of the city’s street decorations.

The Chichester BID will not be hosting a Christmas lights switch-on event this year or a fireworks display but that hasn’t stopped the city’s three rotary clubs planning their own family friendly event.

A procession of children, families and even mascots from city shops are to parade through the city centre ahead of the customary blessing of the rotary tree at the Market Cross.

Organiser Doug Price said: “The plan is there will be a switch-on, it will be the switch-on of the community rotary Christmas tree and that will happen at 5pm on Saturday November 24.

“There will be a torchlit procession for children and families, including people dressed up as mascots – you’ll have Nandos dessed up as a chicken and all these other shops, they have mascots representing their shop.

“I’ve spoken to them and they’re all very keen to do it.”

He said the procession would march from the top of North Street towards the Cross, down East Street and back to the tree, which the Dean of Chichester would give his customary blessing.

Choirs would sing at the Cross and the Christmas tree lights would be switched on. The street lights will already have been illuminated at that time for the BID’s ‘soft launch’ from October to late November.

The rotary clubs have placed the big tree at the Cross for around 40 years or more, although the lights for the tree are paid for by the BID, Mr Price explained.

He said the rotary clubs were speaking to schools about the possibility of schoolchildren making lanterns as a craft activity for the evening.

“We’re trying to make it a nice, warm, family Christmas event.”