The annual festive tradition of heading into town for the Christmas lights switch-on could be in jeopardy this year, as some council-run events across Notts are already cancelled, and others are facing a similar threat.
With coronavirus cases beginning to rise again in all parts of the county, and light switch ons typically involving dense crowds, some councils have decided not to proceed.
Some alternative events have been planned, such as Christmas at Wollaton, which organisers say will see the park “transformed” into an enchanting light spectacle.
Staggered entry times and pre booking is required for the event.
Several councils have said final decisions are expected imminently on whether their traditional lights switch-ons will take place.
But one of those which has cancelled already is Broxtowe Borough Council.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings, Broxtowe Borough Council has taken the difficult decision to cancel the Christmas lights switch on events that were due to take place later this year.
“Christmas lights will still be on display to decorate the town centres over the festive period but no official switch on events or ceremonies will take place.
“The decision was taken in conjunction with Liberty Leisure Ltd, who run the events on behalf of the council.”
Leader of the Council, Labour’s Milan Radulovic said: “We know that this will be disappointing for our residents and businesses but with the current uncertainty about the pandemic over the coming months, it is the right thing to do to make sure we can keep people in Broxtowe safe.
“Christmas is an important time for businesses so we will be working with them to encourage people to shop local and shop safely over the festive period as part of our recovery plans.
“We hope to have these fantastic events return to the Borough as part of events programme in 2021.”
The latest on potential cancellations in Notts
No decision has yet been made about whether the Winter Wonderland will go ahead. The last large-scale lights switch on was in 2017, with smaller-key events held in the last two years as part of the Winter Wonderland.
A decision is expected later today (Tuesday, September 15) on what will happen with the light switch on.
Statement on behalf of the Retford and Worksop Business Forums and North Notts Business Improvement District (which organises the Christmas light switch ons with support from Bassetlaw District Council), reads: “We took the decision back in August that the Christmas light switch on events in Worksop and Retford will be not taking place this year due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
“As it will not be possible to hold the usual stage performances and lights switch-on ceremonies, we wanted to be able to make the decision so that all of the schools and volunteers who normally take part in this event are able to reschedule their activities in good time.
“The Christmas trees will be installed and there will be the usual Christmas lights, but there will be no special switch-on events.”
“We are currently working together with Bassetlaw District Council’s Health and Safety Team in planning to deliver Christmas Markets on Saturday, November 28 (Worksop) and Sunday, November 29 (Retford). These will be subject to ongoing review and may be cancelled at short notice.”
No decision has yet been made
Labour councillor Gary Gregory, Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “No decision has been made about our Christmas events yet.
“We are considering the latest guidance from Government to assess its impact on events before we make any decisions.
“Any events we organise or commission will need to be Covid-19 secure and in line with the latest Government guidance, restrictions and legislation.
“We will update our residents and businesses as soon as we make a decision.”
No decision has yet been made, the council is expected to publish more information about Christmas in Mansfield next week
Newark and Sherwood
Expected not to go ahead
Alan Mellor is the clerk of the town council which organises the event every year.
He said: “The Christmas lights will be going up, but I’m fairly sure our Christmas light switch on is likely not to take place. The council is considering it tomorrow, but I don’t think it will be going ahead.”
Announcement expected in coming weeks