The biggest Lantern Parade yet is planned for Dewsbury's Christmas Lights switch on event on Saturday, 4th December. With more than twenty classes in primary schools across Dewsbury busy in lantern workshops over the last two weeks the organisers have high hopes for a big turnout.
"Christmas is all about the children" remarked Bruce Bird, leading the volunteers of The Dewsbury Partnership community group behind the organisation. "That's why we've invited our local showman, Harry Hamer, to fill Market Place with his children's carousels for the day, we have glow light spinning tricks from the Travelling Light performers, donkey rides and Frost Fairy stilt walkers, plus multiple styles of music and dancers leading up to the children's own Lantern Parade and Children's Choir". Naturally, Santa will also be putting in an appearance in his Grotto to make sure that the children can put in their requests directly to Santa.
Entertainment will start from the Town Hall at 3pm with both the traditional Yorkshire Imperial Brass Band and the Sully Khan Dohl Drummers providing a taste of their music at both ends of the town centre before returning to the Town Hall for the launch of entertainment from the Town Hall stage.
Travelling Light are a unique blend of circus tricks and dance harnessing the power of light.
The group are performing courtesy of Creative Scene who work in North Kirklees to put on a whole range of arts and creative events.
Two Frost Fairy characters named Shimmer and Sparkle will also be visiting the town centre. They'll be hard to miss once the light fades as they light up in the dark and spread a little magic wherever they go!
Community song and dance
While community contributions are down this year due to Covid causing some to pull out or being unable to rehearse the Thornhill School Ukulele Band will be performing together with a Romanian family group led by singer Ecaterina Trif-Albu (call her Caty for short!).
The Batley and Leeds based Dazl Dance group will be showcasing their work with three dance routines and the Earlsheaton Starlites Majorettes will be appearing several times.
Dewsbury Christmas Carol - and Dickensian treasure hunt!
In 2020, Dewsbury Community Outreach worked with Creative Scene to produce a 7 minute video of the Dewsbury version of Dickens' Christmas Carol including social distancing in order to overcome Covid restrictions.
Although viewable online, this will be the first public showing of the result - and will be supported by a Dickens treasure hunt trail between 1-3pm. Visit the Community Outreach stall to pick up your clue sheet.
Kinaara - a Punjabi/British trio
Punjabi singer, Satnam Galsian, teamed up with guitarist, John Hogg, and drummer, Simon Henry, in 2018. Starting with the folk songs of Surinder Kaur and the popular songs of Noor Jehan they have been exploring the connections between the music of Punjab and the west.
Kinaara's first single, the Punjabi folk song Lang Aaja and EP 'Across the River' were issued earlier this year.
Kinaara appears courtesy of Manasamitra, the Dewsbury based cross cultural group
The Thanda Trio
Thandanadi Gumede - Thanda for short, is a vocalist and multi-disciplinary artist from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa now based in Leeds. His music draws heavily from his dual Zulu and Xhosa heritage amalgamated with Jazz, Neo-Soul, Gospel and other contemporary styles.
Thanda has entertained the Royal Family (2015), appeared at the Manchester, Leeds and London Jazz Festivals (2018-2021) and on the BBC Proms (2021).
The Thanda Trio appears courtesy of Manasamitra, the Dewsbury based cross cultural group
Lantern Parade and Massed Children's Choir
How big will be the Lantern Parade and the Massed Children's Choir? We really don't know. But what we do know is that there has been fantastic enthusiasm among local schools both to get involved in the lantern making workshops and with the school choirs.
Lights On by star teacher Peter Simons
Dewsbury is always keen to celebrate local successes and the Lights will be switched on by the 2020 winner of Primary School Teacher of the Year Award, Peter Simons from Thornhill School.
Closing set by Kelly James
Kelly James is a local female vocalist and a favourite in local venues.
Kelly spans a wide range of genres and will close the evening with her version of some familiar sounds.
What's Happening & When
Children's Carousels open
Community Market Opens
Santa's Grotto Opens
Travelling Light walkabout in the Market
Yorkshire Imperials & Sully Khan
Frost Fairies walkabout
Thornhill School Ukelele Band
Travelling Light performance
Sully Khan Dohl Drummers walkabout
Dewsbury Christmas Carol video
The Thanda Trio
Lantern Parade led by the Yorkshire Imperials, Sully Khan and the Frost Fairies
Dewsbury Schools Children's choir
Lights Switch On