Christmas Lights Festival

Last Sunday of November - Sunday 25th November 2018

Switch on 6pm around the tree outside the Town Hall. Launching Banbury into the festive season.
Music, food, entertainment, and of course Santa!

A big thank you to our Switch On Event Sponsors:
Castle Quay Shopping Centre 

castle quay logo 

Switch On 2017


Banbury Christmas Lights 2017 from Ats Films on Vimeo.

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Banbury was buzzing on Sunday as thousands of people in party mood came together for the Christmas Lights switch-on – an annual event that starts the festive season in town.

Revellers gathered around the Christmas tree in Bridge Street for the big moment and sang along as choirs performed seasonal songs.

The crowds joined in the lights’ countdown and cheered as the illuminations lit up the streets. They cheered again when the now traditional fireworks filled the skies.

The switch-on followed an afternoon of fun for all the family – including a funfair, seasonal market, Santa’s grotto, face painting, and Christmas decoration workshops.

On stage the entertainment included music, dance, choir and pantomime performances.

Mayor Cllr Colin Clarke said: “The Christmas Lights Switch-On is a magical moment that people of all ages look forward to. It launches the festive season in Banbury and people enjoy the build-up and seeing the lights come on. It is also an opportunity every year to highlight local people who have served the community. This year we paid tribute to our armed forces and it was an honour to stand beside people who have contributed so much.”

Four ex-servicemen joined Cllr Clarke on stage to press the button that switched on the lights.

They were Bert Dowler (Lieutenant, Royal Tank Regiment, World War Two); Mark Smith (Lance Corporal, Royal Anglian Regiment, Afghanistan); Steve Duffy (Sergeant, 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, Falklands and Northern Ireland); and Wally Foreman (Radio Telephone Operator, Royal Navy, HMS Newfoundland, Korean War).

Switch On 2016


Banbury Christmas Lights Switch On 2016 from Ats Films on Vimeo.

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Banbury’s Christmas Lights switch-on ceremony on Sunday 27th November, was a traditional day of Christmas carols, Santa Claus, shopping for festive gifts and fireworks.

Local fundraiser 88-year-old Kathleen Davis took pride of place at the switch-on.

Supported by former staff of the Horton Hospital she pressed the magic button that lit up the town’s streets and launched Christmas in Banbury.

Mrs Davis has spent a lifetime raising money for good causes locally, including thousands of pounds for the Horton. She has also raised funds for Katherine House Hospice, Bodicote Scouts, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Bodicote WI.

She said: “I do it with help from my friends by holding coffee mornings in my garden, raffles, and by selling items I’ve made."

Mrs Davis is currently knitting Father Christmas dolls, each containing a Ferrero Rocher chocolate, to raise £250 for Katharine House.

Event organisers Banbury Town Council say the change from a celebrity switch-on to a local theme was popular with townspeople and visitors.

Cllr Colin Clarke, chairman of the council’s general services committee, said: “The switch-on was a family occasion that paid tribute to the work that goes on at the Horton Hospital. The day had a real Christmas atmosphere for people of all ages and we think the new approach appealed to everyone.”

A seasonal market, local choirs, workshops, Santa’s Grotto and a funfair provided entertainment throughout the day.

Local choirs sang carols and other seasonal songs and an afternoon of entertainment in the marquee pulled in the crowds,

Cllr Clarke said: “We adopted a ‘local heroes’ theme and we’re pleased Kathleen Davis, a committed fundraiser for many good causes, performed the switch-on.”

Switch On 2015


Banbury Christmas Lights Switch-On 2015 from Ats Films on Vimeo.

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Crowds braved wind and rain on Sunday to watch X-Factor winner Sam Bailey switch on Banbury’s Christmas Lights.

Fans turned out to hear Sam sing five of her best-known songs before joining the countdown that led to the switch on.

Sam, who won the TV talent show in 2013, has gone on to chart-topping successes and has performed before sell-out audiences. She is appearing in the pantomime Dick Whittington at Aylesbury this season and has just secured a part in the musical Chicago which will begin a nationwide tour at the New Theatre, Oxford, early next year.

Her visit to Banbury was memorable for Sam. She said: “My 14-month-old daughter Miley walked for the first time today in Banbury Town Hall. So not only have I been to a fabulous lights switch-on, but my baby took her first steps. It’s been a day to remember.”

Sam was the finale to an afternoon of entertainment that included Beyonce tribute act Victoria, Banbury’s popular Rock Choir and local band The Next Hot Thing.

Banbury mayor Tony Mepham and his wife Lesley joined Sam on stage for the switch-on.

Cllr Mepham said: “The weather was appalling but the show went on. All the stage acts were good and Sam Bailey was a great star guest. But maybe the real stars were all the people who came out in the rain to support what was once again a terrific Banbury Christmas Lights switch-on.”

The show was compered by Banbury Sound’s Kirsty Leahy and founder of the town’s new broadcasting station Puritans Radio Stewart Green.

Hatwell’s Funfair provided rides and sideshows in the Market Place, and Father Christmas was nearby on his sleigh – courtesy of Banbury Cross Round Table.