So on Saturday I went along to the Christmas lights switch-on in the small town I live in. My small town has a wonderful way of doing most things in an amateur-ish fashion, which is somehow quite charming and just feels right for its character.
So we all stood in the main square and listened to a couple of bands – one of which were all dressed as Santa Claus – and then a couple of local radio presenters and the Lord Mayor pressed the button to turn on the lights, to loud cheers. And then they followed it up with a firework display. I’ve never quite figured out where they set off the fireworks from, but it’s certainly pretty close to the multi-storey car park (see, we’re not THAT small a town!) – so I’m not convinced they’re not set off from its roof. And the entire crowd of people actually do all chorus ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ with no hint of irony! Someoen was clearly impressed enough by the switch-on 2 years ago to film it and put it on youtube – and it hasn’t changed any in the last 2 years. You too can watch it, just here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJhhbtHrQP8
Last year, one of the main highlights following the lights switch-on was a Take That tribute band, playing in the local Council car park on the back of a Wilkinson’s lorry, surrounded by fairground rides whose PA was better than that of the band. I had wondered if this was due to a slight oversight, with someeone forgetting to order a stage – but this year we had a Queen tribute act, also playing from the back of the lorry. the thing is that when I say ‘a lorry ‘ I literally mean it. They jut pull back the material side almost all the way, put a couple of local posters on the other side to act as a backdrop, and then let the ‘band’ get on with it.
Christmas lights switch-ons and similar events are the sort of things I’d never bothered to go to before when living in bigger cities, but they seem almost obligatory when you live somewhere like this.