Published Friday 4 November 2022 at 15:27
Dance fever is set to sweep through Blackburn when Strictly’s AJ Odudu turns on the Christmas lights in her hometown.
Blackburn BID, in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council, The Mall and Blackburn Festival of Light CIC, have announced their festive programme of events – with this year’s switch-on line-up promising to be even more glamorous than ever before!
Set for Saturday, November 26th, the ‘Blackburn Glitter Ball’ will boast a day of dance and music on King William Street – with hopes of scoring a 10 with the crowds!
BBC Radio Lancashire presenters Nish Hindocha and Sharon Hartley will be hosting the free, festive event, which will begin with a performance by Blackburn with Darwen Brass Band, followed by an all-singing, all-dancing opening show by Blackburn-based Pop Up Entertainment.
During the afternoon, talented local dance and theatre schools and performing arts groups will all entertain the crowds.
Then, the finale show – starting at 5.30pm and with an amazing cast of singers, dancers, and performers – will culminate in the town centre’s beautiful Christmas Lights being switched on by AJ, followed by an incredible fireworks display.
Catherine Price, Blackburn Town Centre BID manager, said:
This year’s Christmas programme promises to bring smiles to the faces of everyone visiting Blackburn with lots to see and do this festive period.
We are delighted to announce that Blackburn’s very own AJ Odudu will be our special guest this year, officially switching on the Christmas lights for the town.
We have taken the opportunity to spread out the festive programme to bring as much joy as possible to visitors this Christmas.
We truly hope everyone, of any age, will choose to spend time in Blackburn town centre this festive season and have a magical and memorable time.
Television presenter AJ, who was born in Blackburn and who’s family still live in the town, made it to the Strictly Come Dancing final in 2021 – until an ankle injury forced her out of the competition.
Throughout her career, which included presenting Channel 4’s Big Brother’s Bit on the Side with Rylan Clark and Emma Willis, the former St Bede’s student has always found time to declare her love for her hometown, saying it’s where she got her ‘grit and determination’ from.
Cllr Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
We’re really looking forward to welcoming AJ to switch on the Christmas lights in Blackburn.
She’s been a fantastic ambassador for the town and is really proud of her roots.
The Strictly line-up for this year’s lights switch on is fantastic – a perfect way to start the Christmas countdown.
Of course, AJ will be joined on stage with lots of talented performers from right across the town – making this a real Christmas cracker!
And, this will be just the start of what’s planned in the run up to the festivities with free events right across the borough up until Christmas Eve.
Councillor Riley added:
Our teams are already busy putting up the lights and soon the Christmas trees will be arriving too.
We know that times are incredibly tough right across the country and that our residents, towns and businesses need our support.
As a Council, we’ve worked hard with our partners on a packed programme of free events this Christmas for everyone to enjoy.
Please do head into our towns, have fun with your family and friends and support local businesses where you can.
On the same day as the Lights Switch On, Santa Claus is comin’ to town to open his Christmas Toy Emporium in The Mall Blackburn. Details of how to buy tickets for the magical visit are available on the BID website.
As well as the Christmas Lights Switch On, a festive ‘Blackburn Gingerbread Christmas Trail’, organised by Blackburn Business Improvement District (BID), will run between 2 December and 31 December.
The trail will include 13 gingerbread characters – including a sleigh and a throne that you can have a selfie with. Trail maps will be available from the Ask Me Point in The Mall Blackburn with prizes to be won.
The festivities will also feature a return of the Blackburn Festival of Light on Saturday, December 17th. The annual light parade through the town centre will celebrate an incredible 11 years of the event.
Creative light art sculptures, community-created lanterns, creative performers and musicians will form a beautiful light parade in Blackburn town centre.
From Monday 5 December, King George’s Hall will be hosting their annual pantomime – Jack and The Beanstalk. Performances will run until 31 December and will feature great gongs, dazzling dance routines, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and amazing special effects. Tickets can be booked on the King George’s Hall website.