Kingston Christmas lights switch-on attracts 90,000 shoppers

An army of shoppers 90,000 strong turned up to see Father Christmas switch on the Kingston Town Centre Christmas lights on Thursday with Chelsea FC Mascot, Stamford the lion, and Mayor Patrick Codd at his side. <--break->“> The event, which was organised by KingstonFirst, Kingston’s Town Centre Management company kicked off at 3pm, with entertainment lasting the whole day, building up to Santa’s big appearance at 6pm, by which time the atmosphere was electric with excitement.</p>

<p>Patrick Codd, mayor of Kingston, said: “There’s an enormous crowd, a lot of effort has been put in this year. It’s one of the big light-ons in London, and probably, outside of the West End, this is the biggest. It’s fantastic.</p>

<p>“You can’t even get into Kingston. One of the steel band players is stuck in Teddington as he can’t get through, it’s that busy.”</p>

<p>Radio Jackie hosted a party on Clarence Street which was buzzing with Christmas tunes; there was a Traditional Christmas Market in the market square accompanied by carols performed by several local schools, a gift market, and plenty of entertainment for people of all ages.</p>

<p>The Rose Theatre’s Snow Queen, played by actress Sara Stewart, from the production of the same name also made an appearance, much to the awe of the families gathered on Clarence Street.</p>

<p>Several superheroes from the Bentall Centre also provided some entertainment for the kids in the local area, which added to the anticipation. Cathy, alter-ego Betty Twinkle, said: “It’s absolutely rammed, it’s a really lovely atmosphere, and loads of people come back again and again. People seem to have trekked in from 10-15 miles around, which is good for businesses.”</p>

<p>Kingston Town Centre, a big draw for shoppers normally sees around 50,000 people come through on a busy Saturday, but nearly twice as many turned out to see the lights switched on. </p>

<p>Santa will be in his grotto in the Bentall Centre until Christmas Eve, and information on other winter events can be found at the KingstonFirst website.</p>

<p>The Snow Queen opens at the Rose Theatre on 2nd December and plays through until the 8th January.</p>

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