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Wednesday, 4 August, 2021

It’s Christmas…but not as we know it for Blackburn & Darwen

Blackburn & Darwen Council has revealed the borough’s plans for events up to and including Christmas but it will be very different with Christmas Lights Switch On and Witton Bonfire not taking place.

Large gatherings are likely to still be restricted this winter due to the ongoing pandemic, so some changes have been made to the borough’s festive celebrations.

There will be a Remembrance commemoration this year, but the usual services and events will be adapted or altered to fit with the restrictions and safety considerations in place in November.

Some other events have also had to be postponed, including the annual Community Volunteer Awards. The event which celebrates the hard work and dedication of local volunteers and residents will return next year.

Bonfire Night at Witton Park scrapped

The annual Bonfire Night celebration at Witton Park is also cancelled this year, due to concerns over social distancing and large crowds at the park.

The annual Festival of Light will be a virtual event this year, taking place from 18th to 25th of November, and will include festive projections on to Blackburn Town Hall and the turning on of the town’s illuminations.

This year’s Christmas celebrations will be based on Believe in the Magic of Blackburn by author Christina Gabbitas, and a special, magical festive trail will be laid in the town centre, just like the one the characters take in the book.

The normal festive lights and Christmas trees will be installed in Blackburn and Darwen as usual with more details to come soon but without the usual gatherings around the lights switch on.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, King George’s Hall and Darwen Library Theatre are unable to go ahead with their planned Christmas productions this year.

Given the ongoing restrictions, King George’s Hall has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020/21 pantomime Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. The pantomime was due to be held from Monday 7th – Thursday 31st December.

All current ticket holders will be contacted to transfer their tickets to an equivalent performance in 2021.  The Box Office team are working reduced hours so the hall is politely asking people to refrain from contacting us by phone at this time.  All customers will be contacted directly within the next few weeks.

Councillor Damian Talbot, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Executive Member for Leisure and Culture, said:

We want audiences to leave our venues during the Christmas season having had a magical and brilliant experience.  In the current circumstances, we feel that families and schools would not be able to interact with the actors on stage and enjoy pantomime in the way we want you too.  Postponing until next year feels like the most sensible option for the well-being of our customers, staff and performers.”

Neil Dagnall, Venues Operations Manager, added:

We would like to thank all our customers for their patience, continued understanding and support in these difficult circumstances.  We have spent this period of closure refurbishing our spaces and we look forward to welcoming you safely back to King George’s Hall and Darwen Library Theatre soon.”

The Council operates an Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG) which closely monitors all events in the borough to ensure only safe activities are given permission to go ahead.

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