This is a first anywhere in Europe
Four giant four metre square Christmas presents that light up and play music will installed in Derby’s Market Place in the build up to Christmas in place of the ice rink.
In a first anywhere in Europe, the parcels will perform a synchronised light and music show every 30 minutes and people will be able to get up close and even walk through the presents as they perform.
The presents have been developed by Blachere Illuminations, one of the biggest illuminations companies in the world, with installations in more than 150 countries, including Harrods and the Champs Élysées, as well as creating the Norwich Tunnel of Light.
The presents will be switched on during Friday, November 29.
This announcement has scotched rumours that the city might have been getting a Christmas market this year.
Ahead of that, the official Christmas Lights Switch-On sponsored by Smooth Radio will take place from 3.30pm on Saturday, November 16.
The festive event will include a parade from The Spot to the Market Place, where a stage show and entertainment will lead to the lights being switched on at around 6pm.
On The Spot, a new 7.5 metre futuristic tree with light show is due to be installed and will be lit-up each day and evening throughout the festive season.
Derby City Council is also running its annual Window Wonderland competition, which will see shops and businesses decorating their windows in the theme of Christmas Past, Present or Future.
Additionally, Derby’s pantomime this year is Peter Pan, which will run from December 7 to January 4 2020 at Derby Arena, together with a programme of family festivities at Markeaton Park.
Councillor Mick Barker, council cabinet member for governance and licensing said: “I’m really excited about seeing the giant Christmas presents in place.
“They look like great fun and we believe it’s the first time they have been seen like this anywhere in Europe.
“I’m also delighted we are using the new tree at The Spot. It certainly makes sense for us to spread the Christmas cheer a bit more widely across the city centre.
“We took a decision not to renew the ice rink contract because we wanted to do something new. We weighed up our options and so this year we’ve decided to invest in these stand out decorations, which we can use across the city for many years, and in improving our infrastructure.”
“The plan is to build for the future and we’re already working on ideas for 2020 and beyond and will be working with partners and residents in the new year.”
The ice rink had been a regular feature in the Market Place for eight years since 2010.
The cost of the presents installation has not yet been revealed but hiring the ice rink had been costing the council £33,000 a year.
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