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News - 1 November 2006

A Christmas celebration Brighton can be proud of

Brighton city centre is set to host some of the best Christmas lights ever put up in the City. The lights have been designed by the company that creates light displays for the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The spectacular display – which is funded by the Brighton BID (Business Improvement District) – will be officially switched-on by a surprise national celebrity on the evening of Thursday 16 November.

At 6pm, an innovative canopy of lights will be turned on at the Grade I listed Clock Tower. A special collar has been designed to ensure the groundbreaking display can attach to the structure without damaging the fabric of the Clock Tower in any way.

From here, a small procession including a sleigh and real-life reindeer will slowly proceed into North Street, turning on the lights above as they pass by underneath.

‘Elves’ will lead the sleigh into the North Laine, accompanied by live music and a ‘Present Fairy’, who will collect letters addressed to Father Christmas from children along the route. Roads will be temporarily pedestrianised along the procession route to allow shoppers to walk around easily and for families to enjoy  the magic of the Christmas sleigh.

The procession will finish in East Street in The Lanes, where the reindeer will be put into an enclosure so children can feed them and pose for photos.

The lights in the North Laine have been designed to reflect the quirky and unique nature of the shops there. There are ‘balls of light’ which have never been used in the UK before. In The Lanes, the lights are more traditional and reflect a ‘Victorian Christmas’.

Both the North Laine and the Lanes will have choirs, bands and performers. There will be Christmas-themed displays and hot chestnut sellers. Shops will be staying open late, with many traders offering special discounts and promotions for customers. Some shops will be giving away free mulled wine and mince pies and some staff will be dressed in Christmas-themed costumes.

There will also be a children’s treasure hunt in the Lanes organised by Donatello Restaurant.

The Brighton BID includes North Street and parts of the North Laine and The Lanes. It is a new initiative where traders join together to raise funds to pay for improvements to their areas that they have requested. Traders in the Brighton BID have already committed £300,000 to the Christmas lights project.

Andrew Fisher, chairman of the BID board, said: “We’re delighted that Brighton can finally put on Christmas lights that can help us compete with the other major shopping destinations in the South East.

“Brighton’s BID area has so much to offer the savvy Christmas shopper – unique shops, independent traders, family favourites and plenty of food and drink outlets in which to relax. The lights will look fantastic and we hope that the people of Brighton & Hove will support their local shopping area.”

The Clock Tower display has received extra funding from Southern Water and Clancy Docwra.

For more information about the Brighton BID click on the BID icon on the left hand side of this page.


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