17 pictures and a video from the York Christmas lights switch on 2018

Huge crowds – and even some snow – in St Helen's Square last year. Photograph: Anthony Chappel-Ross
15 Nov 2018 @ 10.06 pm
| News

It may only be mid November but York threw itself into the Christmas spirit tonight.

On the Festive First Night 2018 (November 15), the Christmas tree in St Helen’s Square was lit up and the surrounding streets dazzled with thousands of illuminations.


The fun started hours before the 7pm switch on as Ben Fry from the Minster FM breakfast show entertained a huge crowd in St Helen’s Square.

Lucy’s Pop Choir performed lots of Christmassy songs, including Somewhere Only We Know, the Keane song turned into a festive favourite thanks to a TV advert.

Santa turned up

We're live at the Christmas lights switch on in York

Posted by YorkMix on Thursday, November 15, 2018

There was a sighting of Santa, on leave from his Coppergate Centre grotto.

Then Andrew Lowson, executive director of the York BID (Business Improvement District), was on hand to launch Mince Pie Non Stop.

Funded by the BID, this pop-up radio station from Minster FM broadcasts non-stop Christmas hits – with a few messages encouraging everyone to come and enjoy the city centre during the festive season.

Lord Mayor of York Keith Orrell and Lady Mayoress Judith Orrell, Father Christmas and panto star Martin Barrass prepare to plunge. Photograph: YorkMix

Santa can’t hear you!
Andrew Lowson of York BID turns on the Mince Pie Non Stop radio station

Then Ben was joined on stage by BBC Radio York breakfast show host Georgey Spanswick, the Lord Mayor Keith Orrell, the Lady Mayoress Judith Orrell, and panto star Martin Barrass,

Martin, now in rehearsals for the York Theatre Royal panto The Grand Old Dame Of York, clowned around on stage until it was time for the countdown.

The four special guests hit the plunger, the lights came on – and Christmas was officially opened in York.

Returning for a third year, the lights are coordinated by the York BID and supported by Make It York – and they look better than ever.

The Shepherd Group Junior Brass Band played some carols and the crowd set about shopping in the St Nicholas Fair stalls, which also opened today.