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Christmas 2017 crowds

Christmas lights switch on draws one of the biggest crowds

20 November 2017

More than 37, 0000 people turned out to see the Christmas lights switch on in Sheffield yesterday. The crowd was one of the biggest in recent years for the annual event.

The honour of switching on the lights fell to Sheffield singing talent and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Kyle Tomlinson and The X Factor quarter finalist, Sam Black, who joined Sheffield Lord Mayor, Councillor Anne Murphy in lighting up the city centre.

The Lord Mayor said: “It was a fabulous day and I was really happy to see so many people come to the event. The atmosphere was magical, and it was great to meet Kyle and the pantomime guests from Mother Goose and to see so many Sheffield people out celebrating the festive season. It was truly a spectacular sight”.

This year’s Christmas lights are not the only shining attraction for the festive season. Two 3D illuminated butterflies, the largest of which is over six metres high, were also turned on in Millennium Square. The butterflies will be on display for the next six weeks and are a gift from the Confucius Institute at Sheffield University. Dr Lucy Zhao, Director of the University of Sheffield’s Confucius Institute:

“The Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year and as part of the celebrations, we wanted to go the extra mile and arrange something special for our city.

“Butterflies have always been popular in Chinese culture, for example in embroidery, paintings, and porcelain. In China, we have a famous love story known as Butterfly Lovers, in which two lovers were separated by their parents but they flew away together as two butterflies and were never separated again.

“The frame of the butterflies being displayed in the city was created through 3D printing. In this sense, the butterfly lights showcase the combination of tradition, innovation and advanced manufacturing, which is what Sheffield is all about.”

The cast of this year’s Mother Goose pantomime at the Lyceum, Benidorm actor, Jake Canuso and Pantomime dame Damien Williams entertained the crowds and there were performances from dance troops and local choirs.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure said: “I  am delighted so many people came to the city centre to mark this occasion.

“It was made special by every one of you who came, not only to see the lights being switched on but to spend times with family and friends and enjoy the performers and activities.

“I hope those of you who did not make it will come to the city centre to see the lights and the amazing illuminated butterflies that have been given to us in the spirit of friendship.”

Going to see the lights will also be easier and cheaper for anyone who needs to catch a bus or drive to the city centre. The festive Plus One offer allows anyone with a day, week or month ticket to bring along another person for free on journeys into the city centre after 4.30pm and out of the city centre after 6.30pm on Thursdays and all day on Sundays, in the run up to Christmas.

Councillors have also agreed to have free car parking all day Sunday at council run on the street pay and display bays and car parks until Christmas Eve.