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Lancaster's Scouting for Business On 26th November

Businesses in Lancaster have responded positively to this week's announcement that Scouting for Girls will be headlining this year's Christmas Lights Switch-On event on the 26th of November.

As well as announcing the date of the annual event, the Lancaster Business Improvement District has also revealed this year’s line-up - who are performing on The Bay's Live Stage.

With the event growing each year, thousands of people are expected to flock to the city centre for a full day of festive fun and entertainment which this year will see brand new additions to the line-up.

The highlight will be The Bay Radio's stage show in Market Square from 2pm until 6pm. More details are here.

Lancaster BID Manager Rachael Wilkinson said: “Each year it is great to see the city centre bustling with people enjoying the Switch On day activities.

"We are thrilled with this year’s stage show line-up and I’m sure Scouting For Girls will draw in huge crowds. The addition of the Santa Salsa, Santa Dash and Snow Lion will also be great attractions for families.”

Bay Business has been speaking to local bars and restaurants ahead of the expected influx of visitors to the city. 

Lisa Morris - Manager at Bella Italia, said: "I think its fantastic news for Lancaster. Hopefully it will increase lots of footfall into the city centre and in turn increase business.

"I was just doing the rota and we've staffed up for that shift. Obviously we've increased our food orders as well, so more hours for everyone.

"It's always a really popular event anyway, but obviously this just adds to it."

Ailsa Morrison, the Manager at Merchants 1688 added: "We were impressed . I think it will be really positive for the town centre. We are always extremely busy for the switch on because of our locality.

"Other occasions that we prepare for in a similar way are the Lancaster music festival, definitely, as well as other events leading up to it like the late night shopping, and Santa with his reindeer!"

Chris Beckerman from Roubaix Group - the owners of the Marketgate Shopping Centre, said: “Turning on the Lancaster lights is always a fabulous time as everyone gets into the Christmas spirit.  

"It’s great to see the city pulling in a top act to headline the Switch.

"We’re looking forward to it and all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas at Marketgate and across the city centre.”

There has been excited reaction from local people on social media too.  

Trisha Nicholson wrote: "I’m going! We can go for a few cocktails as well!"

Danielle Park said:  "Let's all go will do lunch aswell? Will probably have too book a table somewhere as it will be really busy."

Teri Franey wrote: "We can mooch and grab some hot coffee and donuts and get there early, as last year we where jammed by the wall!"

And Jenny Grace added: "Ahhhh I heard this on the radio this morning!!!! So exciting!"

The Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On is just one of many Christmas events happening in Lancaster this winter.

Other events on every weekend throughout November and December include Christmas Reindeer, Chilli Fiesta, Winter Fest Markets, Small Business Saturday and Christmas at The Castle.

Full details of those events are on the BID website, here.

Below: Scouting For Girls are no stranger to North Lancashire, having wowed the crowds at 2016's Morecambe Carnival:


Below: Henry Gallagher will also be performing, previously seen at the 2015 Morecambe Carnival


Other artists who will be making an appearance include Lucy Spraggan - who found fame on The X Factor in 2012, The Hara, Yes Lad, Shanaya Atkinson-Jones and Alex Hulme.

Below: Yes Lad

Below: Lucy Spraggan

Below: Shanaya Atkinson-Jones

Below: Alex Hulme

There will also be performances from Jennifer’s Dancers and Stagecoach Theatre School (both pictured below).

The Christmas lights will be turned on at 5pm in Market Square. Additional viewing areas will be located on Horse Shoe Corner and New Street Square to accommodate the thousands expected to attend the highly popular annual event.

The additional viewing areas are described as "perfect to accommodate young families".

The Bay Breakfast's Presenter, Danny Matthews - who will be hosting The Bay's Live Stage again this year, said: “The Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On is one of my highlights each year, and I'm really looking forward to introducing Scouting For Girls onstage.

"It really will be the biggest line up we've ever had at the Lancaster switch on!”

New to this year, the Snow Lion will make appearances in Marketgate shopping centre from 12pm until 3.30pm. As part of the day’s festivities, from the forests of eternal snow pads the giant Snow Lion, accompanied by the White Queen.

The day’s event will also be a chance for you to dig out your running shoes to enter this year’s ‘Santa Dash’ and ‘Santa Salsa’ in aid of CancerCare.

This year’s Santa Dash will bring a little cha-cha-cha to Lancaster as hundreds of salsa dancing Santa’s will shimmy to the beat of the steel drums before running through Lancaster.

Adults, children and groups are being encouraged to enter the Santa Dash which will be held in Market Square as part of the Lancaster BID Christmas Lights Switch On event.

The Santa Salsa warm-up event starts at 1.30pm in Market Square, all participants will be asked to arrive in good time as there will also be an attempt at the Guinness World Record for the biggest salsa lesson. Once all Santa’s are warmed up they’ll run, walk, dance, prance, jog or jingle their way on a one-mile Santa Dash around the city centre.

There are also great prizes can be won by participants including a chance to switch on the Christmas lights, a year-long family pass for 3-1-5 gym and a special prize for the best group of dancers.

Anna Saczek, CancerCare Event Organiser said: “We’re thrilled to present a new and exciting take on our annual Santa Dash and add a little heat to this chilly time of year with a warm up Salsa dance.

"With the help of professional, entertaining dance teachers and the spectacular sound of steel drums, participants can expect to enjoy a carnival atmosphere and the opportunity to be part of a Guinness World Record attempt.

"This year’s Santa Salsa & Santa Dash promises to be great fun no matter how skilled you are on the dance floor or how quickly you can move your feet, it’s an event that is suitable for all.”

Father Christmas will also be taking time out of his busy schedule and making a special appearance to check who is on the naughty and nice lists this year. He can be found between 2.30 and 3.30pm in Lancaster city centre and will also appear on stage later in the day to help turn the Christmas lights on.

The popular Christmas Reindeer won’t be part of the Switch On day activities this year though - as they now have a whole event day of their own.

On Sunday 10th December, Santa's reindeer and elves will be in Market Square from 11am.

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