York’s panto stars have turned on the city’s first Christmas lights in a secret ceremony tonight (Wednesday).
Panto dame extraordinaire Berwick Kaler and sidekick Martin Barrass flicked the switch to bring a festive sparkle to the Coppergate Centre.
There were no crowds to watch live, although plenty tuned in to the event which was live-streamed on the YorkMix Facebook page this evening.
In a unique event hosted by YorkMix Radio‘s Victoria Charles, Berwick and Martin plunged down the button which saw the centre’s Christmas tree and decorations light up the dark night.
The pair, who are once again back on stage in York after a Covid-enforced absence, will be starring in Dick Turpin Rides Again at the Grand Opera House from 11 December until 9 January, and brought their usual comedy chaos to the proceedings despite their being no audience present.
“We know that our lights switch-on events normally draw a huge crowd, but in the current climate, we didn’t want to encourage large groups of people huddling together against the November cold,” said Coppergate’s centre manager, Pippa Unwin.
“So we figured a secret switch-on would be the best option – and were thrilled to have Berwick and Martin along to push the plunger.”
“Victoria Charles and our friends at YorkMix Radio hosted an unannounced Facebook Live event so that people didn’t rush down but we could continue to share the switch-on with the people of York.
“Of course, there’s plenty of opportunity to come and see the lights, which will stay in place until the New Year – and a superb range of shops, food outlets and attractions to appeal to people of all ages for a traditional Christmas shopping experience!” Pippa added.
The Coppergate Centre is becoming somewhat of a hub for street food, too, with freshly cooked wood-fired pizza, delicious burgers and Greek food all on offer, plus delicious hot drinks and snacks from the Café 21 pavement café.
They have also been joined by fine gelato from Harrison’s, which has now opened in the kiosk outside Primark offering a wonderful array of gelato as well as coffee and tea.
Tickets for Dick Turpin Rides Again are available here.