Santa raps, the crowds roar – and the lights go on! Videos and pix of the brilliant Christmas switch-on

Santa’s gangsta grotto rap! Photographs: Mia Titley
15 Nov 2019 @ 8.49 pm
| Entertainment

It rained, it (fake) snowed, we had music, giveaways, two switch-ons and a rapping Santa – all in the shadow of the magnificent Minster.

The Christmas lights switch on was a terrific success in its new Duncombe Place location on Thursday night (14 November).

The event, which was jointly organised by Make It York and York BID (Business Improvement District), saw hosts town crier Ben Fry and Laura Castle from Minster FM and BBC Radio York’s Georgey Spanswick lead the traditional countdown to the illuminations switch on.

Earlier executive director of York BID and friends turned on Mince Pie FM, a pop-up radio station from Minster FM playing nothing but Christmas hits and messages promoting things to do in the city centre

The large crowd was entertained by live performances from Lucy’s Pop Choir, Sam Sax and Shepherd Group Junior Band.

But the biggest hit of the night was Santa’s rap. Dropping by from his residence at Castle Howard, Santa dabbed, beatboxed and did the Christmas Twerky to a roar of approval from young and old.

Other special guests were were England footballer Lucy Staniforth, the cast of Theatre Royal’s Sleeping Beauty pantomime: Martin Barrass (The Queen), David Leonard (Evil Diva), Susie Cooper (Princess Beauty) and A.J Powell (Darth Diva), the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Janet Looker and the Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost,the Dean of York.

It also marked the start of St Nicholas Fair – with cosy festive chalets spread across Parliament Street and down into the Coppergate Centre, plus the Yorkshire Yuletide Village in Shambles Market.

Christmas switch-on gallery

Santa, Andrew and his children switch on Mince Pie FM
Andrew Lowson from the York BID and children join the fun
Ben chats to the Lord Mayor
England footballer Lucy Staniforth

Panto villain David Leonard and the Lord Mayor of York Janet Looker share a joke


Dean of York Jonathan Frost talks to Ben Fry of Minster FM

It was right next to York Minster this year
Sam Sax rocks the stage
Susie Cooper and Martin Barrass from York Theatre Royal panto Sleeping Beauty
Santa and Laura Castle from Minster FM
Lucy’s Pop Choir
The switch on was next to York Minster this year. Photographs: Gareth Buddo
A good crowd braved the rain