Christmas Lantern Parade & Light Switch-on in Devizes


The evening was dry with only a subtle nip in the air, it wouldn’t be a Christmas lantern parade and light switch on if it was thirty degrees in the shade.

Traffic and parking had minimal issues and was surprisingly smooth. We parked in Station Road and were wandering to the Market Place sooner than I’d have imagined.

The place was bustling with no shortage of craft, food and clothes stalls. The smell of doughnuts blended with mulled wine and noodles with kangaroo burgers.

Christmas decoration stalls were reasonably priced and crowds built up rapidly. There was the usual aura of anticipation in the air and a welcoming scent of yule.

DOCA need to be praised for this year’s lantern parade, Devizes Town Band built the excitement with renditions of Christmas classics. I’m particularly partial to Jona Lewie’s “Stop The Cavalry,” and refuse to accept Christmas has begun until I hear it. As we marched out of the  busy Shambles to find our place, sure enough trumpets blew the riff.

Excited to see Father Christmas the wait was not long, in fact I feel a lesson could be learnt with new arrangements. Yes the people gathering close to Bear, where he traditionally stumbles out of the window got the short end of the stick. Perhaps though it’s their own fault for failing to notice the controls for the lights were absent from the balcony!


Was this a H&S regulation? It must be said it’s not particularly PC for kids to witness the superhero of folklore to climb through windows. Whatever the reason, Santa accended a ladder of a scaffolding tower disguised a chimney by the market cross to switch on the lights this year.

At this point, a technical hitch which no one could be blamed for, unfortunately failed us and the tree lights flickered but didn’t want to play ball. A second countdown still didn’t bring luck but boos from the crowds were the real spoiler; it was simply one of those unpreventable things.

Not to worry, as the other lights worked, the Little Brittox looking particularly fabulous, and fireworks lit up the clear night sky.

DOCA put a heck of a lot of work into this show and we have to tip our hats to them for a job well done. Perhaps some lessons for next year could be the power source, but mainly the overzealous Father Christmas who had upped the ladder and begun the countdown long before the entire lantern parade had arrived in the square.

This was surely unfortunate for the children taking part and, even if the young ones are getting impatient in the crowds, those walking the parade deserve closest dips on the finale.

C’est last vie, a grand start to the yule anyway, and thanks DOCA for your brilliant show!

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