The countdown to Christmas begins in Rochdale later this month with a spectacular new two day event and magical family entertainment leading up to the lights switch-on.

‘Ignite’ Fire Festival will transform the gardens opposite Rochdale Town Hall from Saturday 25 to Sunday 26 November with two free night-time spectaculars delivering a magical trail of blazing fire and lights. Over 25 fiery displays, blazing sculptures and illuminated installations created by artists from the UK and abroad will be open to walk through from 4pm to 8pm each evening, with the Christmas lights switch-on taking place on the Sunday.

A free immersive experience for all ages, Ignite will feature incredible flame arches, an elegant ‘Eyeful Tower’ of fire and flame throwing, a musical fire tree along with a varied assortment of other big and bright fire based attractions.  

Visitors will be able to follow the trail of flaming chimneys, fire shells, fire pits, festoon lighting, magical lights and jaw dropping special effects.   

Street theatre and interactive arts group Travelling Light Circus will host fire shows featuring jugglers, torch spinning and dance for a multi-sensory mesmerising experience along with over 70 local residents that they will have trained especially for the event.

Listen and look out for a techno infused performance by ‘Drum Machine’ - a 20 strong drumming collective. The group have performed at top festivals across the UK but it will be their very first time in Rochdale.

For younger children there will be lantern making workshops so little ones can take their own homemade lantern to the switch-on.

There will also be hot food, mulled wine and other seasonal drinks.  It will be the first time the lights have been switched on in front of the town hall since 2019, with the square and building closed for major refurbishment.

Father Christmas, and his special guests, including Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Mike Holly, will officially switch-on the lights at 5.30pm on Sunday 26 November in front of the town hall after the traditional countdown, whilst the ‘Ignite’ Fire Festival continues until 8pm.

Ignite is organised by Rochdale Borough Council in partnership with Out There Arts – the National Centre for Outdoor Arts & Circus and Culture Co-op, a ‘Creative People and Places’ programme, funded by Arts Council England.

Councillor Janet Emsley, the council’s cabinet member for equity, safety and reform said: “This new fire festival is such an exciting and unique addition to our switch-on, something we’ve never seen before in Rochdale, providing amazing family entertainment across the weekend and helping to attract visitors from across the region. It’s a chance to support local with our fantastic businesses and I invite everyone to come and join us.”

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Christmas switch on events are also taking in place in:

Heywood town centre, Saturday 18 November – 3pm to 5.30pm, organised by Heywood Business Group.

Middleton town centre, Saturday 18 November – 2pm to 7pm organised by Middleton Township.

Littleborough town centre, Saturday 25 November – 4pm to 6pm organised by LEAF.




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