Rochdale Christmas Lights Switch-on
Rochdale’s Christmas lights party is back and it’s going to be bigger than ever! After last year’s virtual switch on, the countdown to Christmas begins for real in Rochdale later this month as Rochdale Borough Council confirms a Christmas lights switch-on and lots of extra special magical family entertainment on Saturday 20 November.

With the Town Hall closed for refurbishment, the location for the switch-on moves to the new Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure destination, with more lights than ever before. In addition to stunning Christmas lights there will be a series of very special light displays and live street theatre from 3.30pm when the build-up to the switch-on begins.

From The Butts to Rochdale Riverside, you’ll see spectacular illuminated street theatre and displays delivering a bright festive treat for all the family. These include Spark! - a mesmerising show combining high impact drumming with kaleidoscopic lighting and music. Heliosphere – a giant colourful balloon will be rising above the river in the town centre suspending an aerial acrobat. Mystifying and inspiring, Heliosphere is a popular attraction at stadiums across the world but has never visited Rochdale before.   

Also at the switch-on will be Moths at Work - disco theatre full of colour and fun. Giant brightly coloured Winter Wonderland Birds from the ’12 Days of Christmas’ song will meet visitors, and don’t miss the Curiosity Christmas Tree – a cross between a giant marble run and a magical clockwork toy with tinkling bells and lights. Making a guest appearance will be Sybil the baby whale created by Littleborough Arts Festival.

The Rochdale switch-on is also the first time you’ll get to see Gaia, the internationally renowned stunning replica of planet earth that will be on display at Number One Riverside for five weeks. Also inside Number One Riverside especially for the Christmas lights switch-on will be digital sound and light installation - the Celestial Sound Cloud, so as you move around the ground floor you’ll activate musical notes, voices and magical lights.

Outside there will be hot food, mulled wine and other seasonal drinks. 

Father Christmas, the deputy mayor and special guests will officially switch-on the lights at 4pm and outdoor family entertainment continues until 5.30pm.

Councillor Sue Smith, cabinet member for communities and co-operation said: “We’re pleased to welcome back our Christmas lights switch-on, there will be more lights than ever and lots of spectacular extra colourful displays for all the family. It’s also the day we open the Gaia exhibition and the first time we have been able to have a switch-on event including the new Rochdale Riverside, so it’s going to be amazing. With food and drink and street theatre to entertain the crowds there will be something for everyone. It’s also a chance to support local with our fantastic businesses and I invite everyone to come and join us.”

Rachel Byrne, centre manager for Rochdale Riverside added: “We’re so excited to be hosting the spectacular lights switch on at Rochdale Riverside. It’s set to be a special day and will really kick-off the festive countdown in style! We also have a variety of festivities planned on-site throughout the Christmas season and hope we can create an amazing experience for the people of Rochdale to come together and celebrate.”

For more information visit

Christmas switch-on events are also taking in place in:

Heywood town centre, Saturday 20 November – 3pm to 5.30pm, organised by Heywood Business Group.

Middleton town centre, Sunday 21 November – 1pm to 5pm organised by Middleton Township.

 Littleborough town centre, Saturday 27 November – 3.30pm to 6pm organised by LEAF.


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