After lasts year’s dark cancelled Christmas, ‘The Chelmsford Christmas Lights Switch On’ returned, for 2021, to relight and brighten up the start of the festive season. The festivities starred spectacular performances from The Bam Bam Boogies dance company, steel drums and the brass band, all inspiring why you should visit and celebrate with the community of Chelmsford this holiday.

A tradition for everyone in Chelmsford is the annual ‘Christmas Light Switch On’ (run by Chelmsford For You and the City Council) where at 5pm everybody gathers to watch the city centre’s light decorations turn on, with fireworks to end the incredible night. The celebration helps Chelmsford For you/ advertise and support local businesses, organisations and activities in the community, especially upcoming Christmas events. After the dull of COVID postponing last year’s, starting at 12- on Sunday the 21st of November, the festival returned this year more hope filled than ever, so everyone can celebrate Christmas again.

The weather was freezing and everyone was wrapped up snug, as you smelt the warm aroma of roasted chestnuts, sweet candy floss and melting chocolate kisses offered at the winter wonderland of market stalls. At stone bridge, The Bearded Gypsy Trade Fayre had many stalls glistening with special hand-crafted Christmas decorations; with a stall selling adorable knitted jumpers, whilst music from Intense Records played. Of course there was jolly Father Christmas having photos in his sleigh, with the Salvation Army Brass Band. The Alpine Ski Lodge Bar in Bond Street sold frosty beers and mulled wine.

Though the festival lasted hours it was never boring, even having a tombola and holiday walkabout acts. The Christmas spirit was alive as the bustling crowd packed in front of the stage, outside The Shire Hall, just before the lights are switched on. Children and adults alike waved varieties of flashing light wands to the live music from Shakster Records and Chelmsford Community Radio. The cheery hosts (For You podcast presenters Will Richards and Sara Tupper) kept the festive excitement until the main event. The final performance was the superbly talented dance number by the Bam Bam Boogies dance company: which run dance classes in Essex. The dance was sensational, with funky, energetic music. From high energy popping, to locking, hip-hop and street; demonstrating the passionate talent they bring to the community.

Madalina Buga was one of the visitors to the celebration “It was beautiful. As the countdown finished the lights lit up the sky and the final firework was huge and golden as it showered down.”

After the dance came the inspiring CM1STMAS Community Award ceremony, organised by Chelmsford For You. The awards were all for incredible individuals who have done amazing works of charity, volunteering etc in the community. It was a true display of what makes the Chelmsford community full of this hope and kindness of the festive season that triumphs all year round. One winner of the Community Champion award was Edith Miller who runs The Art Place- a centre for helping all artists mentally and encouraging their creativity and works, which will be sold at the shop. Click to view all the winners. The countdown ended as the main award winner pushed the giant button to illuminate the Christmas lights all across the city centre. It was magical, as fireworks of all holiday colours exploded into the sky and the Spark steel drummers boomed the joyful cheer.

Though the festival this year has already happened, it has presented so many reasons to join the Chelmsford community this Christmas. From buying Christmas trinkets at The Arts Place, watching Bam Bam Boogies performances, The Beauty and The Beast panto at the Chelmsford Civic Theatre and so much more. Merry Christmas!