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Christmas lights switch-on event cancelled - but there will be a festive fair in town

PUBLISHED: 17:05 09 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:08 09 October 2020

The Christmas lights switch-on event in Bury St Edmunds in 2019. This year's ceremony is not taking place due to coronavirus Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The Christmas lights switch-on event in Bury St Edmunds in 2019. This year's ceremony is not taking place due to coronavirus Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

There will be no ceremony for the Christmas lights switch-on in Bury St Edmunds this year - but there will be a Christmas fair at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Daisy and Richie Farrow enjoying the Christmas lights in Bury last year  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDDaisy and Richie Farrow enjoying the Christmas lights in Bury last year Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The annual switch-on event, organised by the Business Improvement District (BID) group Ourburystedmunds, brings hundreds of people in for the rides, stalls, street entertainment and the main attraction - the festive lights.

But while the lights will be illuminated on Friday, November 20 - Saint Edmund’s Day - as planned, the event won’t happen in the usual way, said Mark Cordell, BID chief executive.

He said: “There will be no ceremony as we don’t want to encourage crowds into the town centre. There will be more information on what we will be doing nearer the time.”

Bury’s annual festive event, which usually includes a visit from Father Christmas, is not the only one to be derailed by the pandemic.

The popular Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre pictured in 2016 Picture: GREGG BROWNThe popular Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre pictured in 2016 Picture: GREGG BROWN

The hugely popular Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre organised by West Suffolk Council is not going ahead, and Blackthorpe Barn have closed their grotto this year and are instead inviting children to speak with Santa via Zoom.

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But there are still some seasonal activities for families to enjoy, including a Christmas fair at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in the heart of Bury organised as an alternative to the Bury Christmas Fayre.

A cathedral spokesman said: “So, just for 2020, we at St Edmundsbury Cathedral are delighted to offer the community an alternative with the opportunity to be part of a Christmas fair whether as trader/stallholder or shopper.”

St Edmundsbury Cathedral is hosting a Christmas fair this year as the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre was cancelled Picture: GETTY IMAGESSt Edmundsbury Cathedral is hosting a Christmas fair this year as the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre was cancelled Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The event is planned to take place in the nave of the cathedral on Friday, December 4, and Saturday, December 5, from 11am to 4pm.

It aims to offer traders, crafts people and artists an opportunity to sell their products in the “stunning and unique” surroundings of the cathedral.

MORE: Bury Christmas Fayre falls victim to coronavirus

The spokesman added: “A number of measures will be in place to ensure a safe Christmas fair for all participants.

“If Covid-19 makes it necessary to cancel the fair, please be assured that all traders will be fully refunded their stall costs.”

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