York Christmas Lights Switch-On 2018: here's everything you need to know

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The festive season is now upon as, and York is about to get into the spirit with the switch-on of the Christmas Lights for 2018.

A sparkling evening of entertainment is due to take place at St Helen's Square on Thursday 15 November, with live bands, a choir and panto stars all set to turn out to celebrate the occasion.

York's Christmas lights switch on will take place at St Helen's Square on Thursday 15 November

York's Christmas lights switch on will take place at St Helen's Square on Thursday 15 November

The historic city is set to be illuminated by more than 160,000 twinkling white LED lights, creating a magical atmosphere that will brighten the city throughout the York Christmas Festival, which runs from 15 November to 23 December.

Here’s everything you need to know about the York Christmas Lights Switch-On 2018:

What are the timings on the night?

The evening's festivities will kick off from 5.15pm on Thursday 15 November, with the event being opened by Minister FM breakfast presenter, Ben Fry.

There will be musical performances and appearances from local personalities, as well as festive food and drink to enjoy

There will be musical performances and appearances from local personalities, as well as festive food and drink to enjoy

In the run up to the big switch on, there will be musical performances and appearances from local personalities, with the lights due to be turned on at 7pm.

Here are the approximate key timings for the night:

- 5:15pm - Ben Fry, Minster FM breakfast presenter, opens event on stage

- 5:30pm - On stage games with Ben

- 6:00pm - Lucy’s Pop Choir performs on stage

- 6:15pm - Band performs on stage

- 6:30pm - Ben invites Lord and Lady Mayoress, Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass on stage. Interview on stage with Berwick.

- 6:45pm - Ben invites Georgey Spanswick, BBC Radio York breakfast presenter, onto the stage

- 6:55pm - Countdown to lights switch-on

- 7:00pm - Guests leave stage. Games with Ben continue

- 7:15pm - Ben introduces Brass Band

- 7:30pm - Event ends

What’s the ticket situation?

The event in St Helen's Square is free for all to attend and does not require the purchase of tickets.

Who is switching on the York Christmas lights?

The Christmas tree lights in St Helen's Square will be switched on by the Rt Honourable Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Keith Orrell and Lady Mayoress Mrs Judith Orrell, alongside panto stars Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass.

Minster FM breakfast presenter Ben Fry and BBC Radio York breakfast presenter, Georgey Spanswick, will lead the traditional countdown to illuminating the Christmas lights, accompanied by Lucy's Pop Choir and the Shepherd Group Junior Brass Band.

What entertainment is on offer?

Live performances from Lucy's Pop Choir and the Shepherd Group Junior Brass Band will take place during the evening, keeping crowds entertained in the run up to the 7pm switch on.

Host Ben Fry will also be engaging the crowd in games and entertainment, including an interview with panto legend Berwick Kaler, who will be starring in ‘The Grand Old Dame of York’, at York Theatre Royal, in this his 40th pantomime.

The St Nicholas Fair also opens in the city on 15 November, offering visitors a chance to enjoy seasonal food, drink and shopping on Parliament Street up until 6pm, and until 8pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday up until 23 December.

What food and drink is available?

York's St Nicholas Fair will have plenty of delicious festive treats for visitors to enjoy ahead of the switch on, at the St Sampson's Square rustic Yorkshire Barn.

Roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate and warming glasses of mulled wine are just a few of the delights on offer.

The Food Court in the Shambles Market will also be offering tasty street food until 6pm, while Thor's Tipi in Parliament Street will be inviting visitors to sample mulled wine and sit by the roaring fire.

What’s the parking situation?

There are 15 public car parks available around the city of York, where visitors can pay to park using their phone with the RingGo app. The app will send a reminder text to notify you when your parking is running out.

A list of all Council run car parks can be found on york.gov.uk/CarParks.

There are also six Park & Ride sites in York, where parking is free of charge and you can complete your journey into the city centre by bus.

First York will be extending Park & Ride services for late night shopping on Thursdays, with services running every 15 minutes.