Deal & Walmer Christmas Lights
The Deal & Walmer Chamber of Trade are proud to announce the Deal Town Christmas Light Switch On event will be on Saturday 25th November. The event starts at 6pm with the lights being turned on at 7.30pm.
This event has become a must for all Deal residents, the energy and feeling of standing in the crowd is reported as being something very special. It is the start of the Christmas season for many.
The event will be on the High Street outside of the beautiful St Georges Church, with the road closed to allow for the crowds to use the extra space, the stage will be set for an hour and a half of entertainment, including a crowd-pleasing musical set from Richie Triangle.
Richie Triangle, will be well known to Deal residents as he is often found playing his music in all the best venues. Richie will be rousing the crowd with Christmas fun tunes.
Father Christmas will be arriving to say hello to the crowd, he will be joined on stage by the dancers of Dance Dynamique. They will be entertaining the crowd with their dynamic dance routines guaranteed to get the crowd swaying, Father Christmas may well be tempted to join in!!!
The Astor Theatre, Deal: Dame Deloris Hood is thrilled to be asked to sing at the Deal Christmas Lights Switch On – her vocal chords are tunned and ready for action! The Astor will be presenting its first ever professional pantomime this Christmas season. RED RIDING HOOD – A PANTOMIME FOR DEAL, sets the familiar tale right in the heart of Deal. The show promises all the traditional fun and ingredients for a great pantomime – a dame, a hero, a fairy and a big bad wolf. The production is written and directed by local Deal resident Mig Kimpton.
As the event is held outside of St Georges Church, it seemed right that they will be onstage to say Merry Christmas to the crowd, celebrating the Christian message. As well as announcing the winner of the local schools competition they have been holding.
The whole event will be compered by the truly brilliant AMJ, AMJ is a UK renowned entertainer & comedian. Having a successful run in Edinburgh, AMJ is touring with his new show Adder, taking a break to compere the Christmas Light Switch On, AMJ will be interviewing all the guests and performers.
No Christmas Light Switch On would not be complete without a visit from the Deal Carnival Queens. This Year the Christmas Carnival is processing from Walmer Green passing by the stage by 6pm for all the light switch on crowds to enjoy before the acts start on the stage. The Queens and Princesses will be alighting from their floats at the Town hall next door and walk to the stage for an enlightening interview with AMJ.
The Deal Mayor and Mayoress will be gracing the stage along with representatives of the Deal & Walmer Chamber of Trade as they welcome the Local Hero to count down to the Lights being switched on.
The event will also, of course, have snow machines to be let loose. Lets all hope for a quiet, dry evening, so all the crowd can enjoy the snow machines and the event, which has become a welcomed tradition of Deals Christmas calendar.
Christmas Starts Here
Next years event will be on Saturday 23rd November 2024
Deal Christmas Lights; A History
The Deal and Walmer Chamber of Trade has been festooning the Deal High Street with Christmas lights for over 40 years. It is thought that the lights started in the late 70’s with 38 shops funding small real Christmas trees, dressed with electrical lights, the installation was contracted to a local electrician and builder, Vic Edginton. Strings of lights and banners were added from the Town Hall to Lloyds Bank. These were made up of incandescent lamps, which used a lot of power and had lots and lots of breakages and problems. The first switch on ceremony was delivered from the back of a lorry!! Individual shops powering the lights would wait in their doorways for the count down and looking at neighbouring lights to rush in and switch on their portion of the lighting. This system naturally led to a not so smooth operation, with some lights not being turned on. Pre health and safety regulations, the whole system was a touch primitive, the strings of lights were installed using a long pole with a notch cut in the top. All the lights use to be stored in a double garage behind Woods the Newsagents. A local electronic engineer, Peter Knight, designed a system whereby all the strings, trees, banners and Town Hall lights could be switched on and off individually at a central control point. This work has allowed for a better WoW factor during the switch-on event, as all the lights now come on at once and does not rely on a multiple of individual shopkeepers waiting to hear the countdown. The lit section of the High Street has continually been extended and now runs from Union Road car park to South Street and includes Park Street. Over 120 traders now have trees, all the lights could be run from a single 13a domestic socket, thanks to the change in lighting technology, all the lights are now LED minimising the environmental impact of the lights.
This work would not be possible without the volunteers that give up their valuable time to this endeavor. The lights are stored throughout the year at Castles Removal and Storage, a volunteer team check the lights and carry out testing and repairs, ensuring they are ready for the big day. The installation of the central switching system, extended coverage of the Christmas lights and the increase in the number of trees, means that there are more plugs and wiring exposed to the vagaries of Deal’s weather. In the past rain and lighting have taken their toll on the equipment, the occasional scaffold pole has severed whole sections of the system or council pruning of trees! Apparently, there was an incident in the early days with one of the light banners falling through the Midland Bank window!! You can see the lights team in the high street all year round completing essential maintenance, double checking the connections and anchor points. The Christmas trees are paid for by the individual businesses that have them proudly displayed. The trees are purchased through a local supplier, a team of volunteers gather at Castles Removals on a Saturday in November to dress the tress with the reused and checked LED light strings, the following Sunday volunteers, gather at the High Street installing the trees, at the points the lights team have tested and installed earlier in the year. Without the support of the fabulous local businesses, the Chamber, the volunteers would not be able to attempt this work.
We NEED Your Help
The lights team are always looking for more people to join in, as there are aspirations to add more lights to the collection, which takes more hours to complete the maintenance and installations. If you are competent on a ladder, and electrician or an electronic engineer who can give up a few hours to help bringing cheer to all that come to Deal’s extraordinarily vibrant High Street.
If you can help please contact the Chambers secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deal & Walmer Chamber of Trade Ltd.
Registered Office Deal Business Park Southwall Road, Deal, Kent CT14 9PZ 2023.
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