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Let there be lights: Christ­mas lights are start­ing to sparkle across the county. Make sure you grab a slice of the fes­tive fun with our guide to switch-ons near you. By Angela Cole

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - NEWS -

It’s time to sparkle as Christ­mas lights switch on around the county.


The cel­e­bra­tion on Fri­day, November 17 will be hosted by kmfm’s Garry

Wil­son and Laura Ne­vitt and panto stars from the The­atre Royal Mar­gate, and fea­tures spe­cial guests from 4pm. Love Is­land favourites Gabby and Mar­cel will be joined by X Fac­tor girl

band Lemon­ade, retro girl-group Hotsy Totsy and pop-rock cov­ers band Exit Strat­egy. The win­ner of the shop­ping cen­tre’s Sum­mer Party’s Lit­tle Stars tal­ent show Kelsie Bis­sett will per­form. You can take part in a name the rein­deer com­pe­ti­tion and post let­ters to Santa. The switch-on is at 6pm.


Dartford town cen­tre’s Big Christ­mas Lights Switch-on takes place on Satur­day, November 18 and will be per­formed by the Mayor and star of the Or­chard The­atre panto Cin­derella Louie Spence at 5.15pm. From 2pm, the build-up starts with per­for­mances from Five Af­ter Mid­night, other panto stars and acts and en­ter­tain­ment on stage in the High Street. There will be a trea­sure hunt around the town with prizes.


A 25ft Christ­mas tree will be out­side Marks & Spencer. Fa­ther Christ­mas will be in his grotto on Satur­day, November 18 at

Gabby from Love Is­land will be help­ing with the cel­e­bra­tions at Westwood Cross 1.30pm, when he will be joined by kmfm’s Garry and Dame Nel­lie Night

Nurse from the Cen­tral The­atre’s Sleep­ing Beauty. The grotto will be open daily un­til Christ­mas Eve. Chil­dren can also post let­ters to Santa un­til Wednesday, De­cem­ber 20. There is a carol con­cert on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 10 and a gift fair from Mon­day, November 20 to Sun­day, De­cem­ber 3. Go to hemp­stead val­


The town’s Christ­mas pro­gramme will be­gin with the lights switch-on and com­mu­nity pa­rade on Fri­day, November 17. Gravesend Bor­ough Mar­ket is hold­ing its se­cond fes­tive sea­son since re­open­ing last year with a four-week ex­trav­a­ganza of Christ­mas Frost Fairs. Panto star Linda Lusardi will open a spe­cial mar­ket that evening and the Frost Fairs will be­gin the fol­low­ing week­end.


The lights go on on Fri­day, November 17 with for­mer Hol­lyoaks star Andy Moss and the mayor press­ing the but­ton at 5pm at the junc­tion of Meet­ing House Lane and Chatham High Street. There will be fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment from 3.45pm in­clud­ing dance per­for­mances and com­pe­ti­tions and prizes.


The lights in the town cen­tre will be switched on around 7pm, with events from 4pm.

For the lights at the Cre­ative Quar­ter see our books fes­ti­val page.


Fes­tive fun at Royal Vic­to­ria Place on Sun­day, November 19, will be a fam­ily day plus free park­ing. It will be hosted by kmfm’s Drive-time pre­sen­ter Rob Wills from 11.30am. Santa will be open­ing his new Fes­tive Fire­side-themed grotto and switch­ing on the Christ­mas lights from noon with help from Aladdin stars CBBC pre­sen­ter Mark Rhodes, East­end­ers’ Michael Greco and Chris Pizzey from The Basil Brush Show, from the As­sem­bly Hall The­atre panto this year. Santa’s Grotto will be open un­til 4.30pm and free fes­tive en­ter­tain­ment will in­clude the chance to see Chase and

Mar­shall from PAW Pa­trol at in­ter­vals be­tween 12.30pm and 4.30pm and the chance to see the big­gest teddy in Tun­bridge Wells and win prizes. Go to roy­alvic­to­ri­

For de­tails of the ice rink open­ing on Fri­day, November 17 turn to our Events pages.


The fun starts at noon on Satur­day, November 18 when there will be street en­ter­tain­ment and a fun run of San­tas from 2pm. There will be fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment from 3.45pm and ac­tress

Claire Sweeney, who is star­ring in panto at the Cen­tral The­atre this year, will be push­ing the magic but­ton with the Mayor around 5pm.


The lights go on on Sun­day, November 19 this year from noon through to 5.30pm, with the switch be­ing flicked around 5pm by mem­bers of the cast of this year’s Maid­stone pan­tomime, Peter Pan. There will be real rein­deer, an ice rink for the chil­dren and Santa’s Grotto plus the high street will be crammed with street food, mulled wine and stalls.


The Frem­lin Walk lights switch-on will take place at 6pm on Thurs­day, November 23. The fun-filled evening of en­ter­tain­ment with Santa and his rein­deer starts at 4pm, with kmfm break­fast show pre­sen­ters Garry

Wil­son and Laura Ne­vitt host­ing a star-stud­ded show with mu­sic, danc­ing, prizes and an ap­pear­ance from the cast of Peter Pan at Maid­stone Stu­dios. Santa will take his usual spot with his rein­deer in the band­stand. There will be Christ­mas stalls sell­ing tasty treats gifts and stock­ing fillers.


The lights are turned on on Satur­day, November 25 at 5pm when there will be a night food mar­ket and visit from Fa­ther Christ­mas from 5pm, with the mar­ket from 6pm.


The fun takes place on Fri­day, November 24 be­tween 3.45pm and 5pm. The en­ter­tain­ment in­cludes singing sen­sa­tion Jack Rose and X-fac­tor

fi­nal­ist, Joseph, for­merly of the band Rough Copy. The lights switch-on is around 5pm.


The fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment starts at 3.45pm on Satur­day, November 25 at Fri­ary Place in the High Street with carol singing, com­pe­ti­tions and prizes, plus chil­dren’s TV char­ac­ter Owlette from

PJ Masks help­ing with the switch-on at around 5pm. Young­sters can also meet Owlette at Strood Com­mu­nity Hub at 2pm. To book call 01634 337799.


On Sun­day, November 26 kmfm head to Com­mer­cial Road in Pad­dock Wood where street en­ter­tain­ment, Christ­mas mar­ket stalls, food and drink, an ap­pear­ance by Santa and a small fun­fair will mark the ar­rival of Christ­mas.


The lights switch-on will be on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 1 in Mor­timer Street, with food, crafts and en­ter­tain­ment from

Smokin’ Mavericks and the Big Bay

Choir. It runs from 4pm to 6pm with the switch-on it­self at 5.30pm.


Fam­ily fun starts at 3.45pm at Rainham Shop­ping Cen­tre on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 1. The Deputy Mayor will switch on the lights at 5pm and love­able bear

Padding­ton will be there. For chil­dren to meet Padding­ton at Rainham Li­brary at 2pm, call


337799 to book.

Ac­tress Claire Sweeney who is star­ring in the Cen­tral The­atre’s Sleep­ing Beauty will be turn­ing on the lights with a flour­ish in Rochester

It’s time to party and fes­tive rev­ellers will head to Frem­lin Walk to start the fun with the big switch-on

Love Is­land’s Mar­cel will be at the Westwood Cross Christ­mas light switch on There will be real rein­deer at the switch-on in West Malling Stars from the Tun­bridge Wells panto Aladdin will be at Royal Vic­to­ria Place to take part in the fes­tive fun

Favourites from kmfm – Garry Wil­son, Laura Ne­vitt and Rob Wills – will be join­ing the cel­e­bra­tions at a num­ber of events around the county

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