Hemel Hempstead officially started the build-up to Christmas on Sunday (27 November) with a huge community celebration to mark the lights being switched on along Marlowes.
Our Christmas Live @ Hemel Hempstead event, which was put together in partnership with businesses and organisations, offered something for all the family.
The day began at midday, with free activities aimed at all age groups. Older children enjoyed skiing and snowboarding taster sessions by instructors from The Snow Centre, who built a real snow slope on the high street. Meanwhile, Phasels Wood activity centre brought a range of outdoor adventure equipment, from spider mountain and a gyroscope to straplines, go carts and a revolving climbing wall.
Younger children loved the trampolines, as well as the real reindeers, land train and snow princesses at Riverside Shopping Centre. Santa and the Pudlets, from the Christmas pudding factory at Marlowes Shopping Centre, also came outside to join in the fun.
Acts appeared live on Hemel’s Rainbow Stage in New Town Square throughout the afternoon, beginning with Hartbeeps’ baby rave. Magician and entertainer Dave Allen compered and performed himself, while sirens of swing The Rockabellas and local group The Rock Choir pulled in the crowds.
New Town Square was at full capacity by the time the headline act – Britain’s Got Talent finalist Balance Unity – took to the stage. Balance – aka Taylor Goodridge – performed a specially choreographed dance routine for his hometown of Hemel Hempstead and spent time meeting and dancing with local fans. Dabbing with Magic Dave also went down a storm!
The unusual double act then organised the lights countdown while filming a mannequin challenge with volunteers on stage – which can be seen on our Facebook page. A fireworks finale ended the day with a bang.
Cllr Graham Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, attended the event. He said: “Everything was perfect, the entertainment, lights and fireworks – and it was enjoyed by thousands. I’ve never seen so many people in the town, which is a real testament to the effect of our Hemel Evolution regeneration work, and to the efforts put in by local businesses. Our team work worked really hard to organise Christmas Live @ Hemel Hempstead, and it really paid off. What a way to start the festive season."
If you were unable to attend the special day, you can still enjoy Christmas activities at Marlowes and Riverside shopping centres throughout December.