Christmas Switch On 2017
Big names, flashing lights, snow and smiling faces, this year’s Christmas Lights Switch On had it all! With a bigger turn out than ever before, Grays was filled with the roar of laughter and cheer on 25 November as the community came together to celebrate Christmas in their high street.
We managed to catch a few words from local residents after the final performances of the switch on, they had this to say:
“It’s great to see everyone coming together in Grays to celebrate something positive”
“The kids loved it today, the giant balls at the end we’re amazing!”
“Grays really came to life tonight, it was wonderful”
This year we called upon a whole host of helpers to give the people of Grays the biggest Christmas lights switch on the town has seen. With local & national celebrities, the cast of Thameside Theatres Beauty and the Beast, bundles of local talent and dozens of little elves running about, the event was chock-a-block with local families loving their town!
Photography by Jen Farrant.
The festive bonanza kicked off at 1pm on Saturday 25 Novemberwith live performances on the main stage located in the middle of the high street. Unsuspecting shoppers and local residents soon knew something was up when the Grays Shopping Centre ‘Come as yourself – leave as an elf’ stations were up and running, swiftly turns Grays into a winter wonderland overflowing with little elves keen to have fun and cause a little mischief.
Help was on hand however! There was plenty to keep the kids entertained with free face painting and arts & crafts courtesy of Thameside Theatre, and exceptionally lively performances from South Essex College’sDimensions Dance Company!
Getting the people of Grays into the Christmas spirit was a breeze thanks to the children from Creative Blast Performing Arts Academy joining forces with Thurrock Golden Voices and the Thurrock Council Staff Choir on the main stage at 2pm to wow the crowd. Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus followed suit, singing all the classics with vigour and style.
Bringing out the creative side of Grays and arranging a wealth of local talent was Thurrock Arts Collective with their own entertainment area featuring musicians and artist alike. Mixing things up a bit this year we also saw a spoken word and poetry stage at the top of the high street from 3-5pm.
Drawing ever closer to the grand finale more and more families started to arrive ready for a the big show, as well as a chance to get their hands on the £500 cash prize for completing the Festive Bauble trail!
Following an action packed afternoon our glamorous hostess Tracie Young from Radio Essex took to the stage to introduce up-and-coming young star Gina Li Donni who blew us away with her powerful cover of Nina Simone’s ‘I put a spell on you’ as well as Christmas classic ‘Winter Wonderland’!
Gina’s spectacular performance wowed the crowd and paved the way for headline act Tracy Leanne, from 2017 X Factor live shows, who made Grays go crazy for the final performance of the night, performing Gin Wigmore’s ‘Written In The Water’ and ‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes.
With snow machines on full blast and giant balloons bouncing around the crowd, Grays was abuzz with Christmas cheer, just in time for the big switch on! Enter stage right local celeb 98 year old Ellen Trangmar, soon to be 99 you know. Ellen was our guest star who took the honour of switching on the Christmas lights in Grays this year.
Photography by Jen Farrant.
Ellen was nominated to switch on the Christmas lights by her friends and family at Thurrock Contact the Elderly, our chosen charity for the Christmas Switch On, who collected a total of £182.62 in donations at the event.
Taking to the stage with Mayor Tunde Ojetola, Stevi Ritchie, and Tracy Leanne for the big moment, Ellen, to the tune of Grays counting down, pushed down the handle to light up the high street!
To thunderous applause it was officially Christmas time in the town centre and the crowd could feel it. However all good things must come to an end, and for 2017 the Christmas Switch On was sadly over.
Many months of hard work and planning had finally been worth it when the communities of Grays came together to celebrate Christmas in their town. And of course all of this couldn’t have been possible without the help of our generous sponsors Nwes and Griffin Estate Agents!
But don’t worry, if you didn’t manage to get to the event on 25 November you can still feel the atmosphere and watch the headline performances through the photos and videos on our Facebook page! Don’t forget to like the page to keep up to date on all future Love Grays events.
If you did manage to attend the event, we’d love to hear your feedback on what we did well and how we could perhaps improve for next year. Please forward all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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