Thousands of people celebrated the return of the St Albans Christmas Cracker – the spectacular event that launches the district’s festive season.
The street festival – cancelled last year because of COVID – took place in the City Centre on Sunday, November 21, with streets closed to traffic to create a safe and vibrant atmosphere.
Among the attractions were live music at two stages, Santa’s grotto, scores of market stalls, funfair rides, low-noise pyrotechnics and street performers.
There was also a children’s Christmas arts and crafts marquee and a safe zone where people could go if they needed some peace and quiet.
Much of the family-friendly entertainment was free with something to suit people of all ages.
The event, organised by St Albans City and District Council, saw the city centre’s Christmas lights being lit up in phases.
Councillor Mandy McNeil, vice-chair of the council’s Regeneration and Business Committee who has lead responsibility for the Christmas Cracker, said: “This was a fantastic, exciting occasion that has got the festive season in St Albans District off to a glorious start.
“There were a huge number of amazing attractions for people of all ages and interests to enjoy and many magical moments as the light installations were switched on at various times.
“As well as providing our residents and visitors with memorable entertainment, the Christmas Cracker also gave our local economy a massive boost.
“Our wonderful shops, restaurants, bars and cafes benefited along with our market traders from the many extra visitors to the city centre.
“I’m sure many of those who were visiting St Albans for the first time will have been greatly impressed by the cracking atmosphere and will come back soon to sample more.
“We could not put on an event like this without the support of local businesses and a number of organisations like St Albans BID and I thank them all for their efforts. The BID, for example, provided the main lights as well as sponsorship funding and helped to advertise and promote the event.”
A number of anti-COVID measures were taken at the event which was outdoors and a lower risk than an indoor gathering.
Cllr McNeil said: “We appealed to the good sense of people to take precautions and I am confident that they did so.
“We are very conscious of the fact that the pandemic is still with us and made sure the event complied with current Government guidelines.”
Details of the full Christmas programme for St Albans District will be available here.