Bonfire Night, New Year and Christmas Lights events CANCELLED in Manchester due to coronavirus

Manchester's big Christmas Lights switch on event and Bonfire Night and New Year fireworks WON'T go ahead in 2020 - but Santa will still be coming to town

Manchester’s Bonfire Night, New Year fireworks and big Christmas Lights Switch-On events are all CANCELLED for 2020, council bosses have today confirmed amid rising coronavirus cases across the region.

But Santa WILL still be coming to town in his new giant light form, the Christmas Lights themselves will be decked across the city again this year, and there will be a special festive light trail, it has been announced.

Manchester Council has still not made a formal decision on whether the annual Christmas Markets will go ahead this year, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely set against the bleak national picture with COVID-19 cases firmly on the rise.

The council today said that following a “period of review around all major events in the city” they could confirm that all bonfire and community fireworks event due to take place around November 5th would not be going ahead.

Fireworks at Manchester Cathedral
credit: Mark Waugh

Furthermore, the big, free Christmas Lights switch-on event, which has in past years attracted huge crowds in their thousands into the city centre and heralded the start of the festive season, is cancelled for 2020.

And there will be no big fireworks display to ring in 2021 in the city – as the council has confirmed that the annual New Year’s Eve firework display has also been scrapped this year.

A council statement said: “Through the last six months, the Council has been supporting event organisers to postpone or cancel public events, moving content online where appropriate inline with social distancing.

“Events represent a major element of the city’s economy, supporting thousands of jobs across a range of industries – from event management to hospitality – and they attract millions of visitors to the city each year.

“The following events will not go ahead this year: Bonfire and Community Firework Displays around 5 November, Christmas Lights Switch-on event and New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

Mark Waugh

“However, there will be Christmas Lights in the city centre as usual, and of course the Giant Santa will return – along with a trail of light sculptures through the city.”

The Skate Manchester ice rink in Cathedral Gardens – which can limit entry numbers to ensure social distancing – will go ahead and tickets can be booked now.

And tickets for Lightopia in Heaton Park are already on sale.

The statement added: “Manchester’s world-famous Christmas Markets remain under review to ensure that the event can adhere to COVID-19 regulations and keep visitors as safe as possible.”

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “Christmas in Manchester is an incredibly important time for the city’s economy.

“The city attracts millions of visitors each year, which local businesses rely on – and it’s important to the city’s recovery that we can bring people back into the city safely. COVID means that Christmas will be different this year, but we are working hard towards celebrating the festive season as safely as possible.

“So watch this space.”


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