Fun and festivities as Christmas lights are switched on

Published: Friday 8 November 2019

Santa with South Lanarkshire Provost Ian McAllan.

The official countdown to Christmas will soon begin with the annual switching on of South Lanarkshire’s Christmas lights.

Ceremonies to light up the town centres in Lanark, East Kilbride, Hamilton, Rutherglen, Cambuslang and Carluke will be held in November and December amid a host of festivities on the special day in each town.

Free entertainment, games and giveaways will bring Christmas fun for all the family, with Radio Clyde’s Gina McKie hosting each event and music from the band Ernest, with their Rockin’ Christmas Show.

An extra dose of pop magic will be found in Hamilton where the band 5ive will also entertain the crowds, while all of the events will be treated to appearances by Olaf and Kristoff from Frozen and Christmas Minions.

Local dance and theatre groups will keep the entertainment going and the festivities will also feature a sing-a-long and a visit from Santa Claus himself.

South Lanarkshire’s Provost, Ian McAllan, will perform the honours of switching on the lights – a moment that will also be marked with an atmospheric fall of snowflakes – at all of the venues bar East Kilbride, where the honours will be done by Deputy Provost Collette Stevenson.

Lanark will set the ball rolling, with its festivities taking place on Saturday, 16 November. Visitors will be able to browse around a Christmas Market from 9am to 5pm, and will be entertained from 2pm by Sing Lanrik Choir, Lanark Panto Group, Lanark Amateur Musical Society, St andrew’s Hospice’s Lorna McCafferty and the Lanark Silver Club draw.

Gina McKie and Provost McAllan will then be joined on stage by the Lanimer Queen, Lord Cornet and Santa for the big switch-on at 5pm.

The next day, Sunday, 17 November, it will be the turn of East Kilbride village, where a Christmas market will run from 12pm to 5pm and street theatre performers, a stiltwalker, a balloon artist/juggler will mingle with the crowds and a Walkabout Elf will hand out sweets.

Community Acts will entertain onstage from 2pm along with Happenin’ Dance and Margaret McGarry from St Andrew’s Hospice before Gina McKie and the Deputy Provost welcome Santa for the switching on of the lights at 5pm.

On Saturday, 23 November, the fun will descend upon Hamilton, with the Traditional Christmas Market open from 10am to 5pm. An assortment of entertainment will be taking place around the town centre, with the Jumbotron relay stage and a brass band at the Top Cross, face-painters in the Regent Shopping Centre, street theatre and a balloon artist in the precinct and Minions in the compound.

The stage shows will begin at 2pm and will feature the Valerie Brown School of Dance, Happenin’ Dance and Andrew Flynn from St Andrew’s Hospice, before 5ive wow the crowds from 4.50pm to lead in to the grand switch-on at 5.30pm.

The following weekend, Rutherglen (Saturday, 30 November) and Cambuslang (Sunday, 1 December will host the festivities, with a fun fair and stage show in each town.

In Rutherglen, the stage entertainment will begin at 1.30pm and will include singer Toby Erskine and Happenin’ Dance, with Gina McKie, Provost McAllan and the Landemer Queen gathering on stage to switch on the lights at 4.30pm.

Main Street, Cambuslang, with be the venue for the fun fair as in previous years, but there will be a new location of Kyle Court for the stage show that will include, from 1.30pm, Dance Elite, Toby Erskine, Happenin’ Dance and St Andrew’s Hospice’s Jeanne Rennie before Gina McKie, Provost McAllan and the Landemer Queen take to the stage for the switch-on at 4.30pm.

The final event for this year will take place in Carluke, on Saturday, 7 December, with the fun fair and stage show – including a variety of community acts and Lorraine Maginnis, from St Andrew’s Hospice – starting at 2pm.

Gina McKie, the Provost and the Gala Queen will then take to the stage to perform the final switch-on of the season at 4.30pm.