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Blackpool Illuminations (Blackpool)
Member Name: Emily88
Blackpool Illuminations (Blackpool)
Advantages: Lights are wonderful
Blackpool Illuminations is a yearly lights festival in Blackpool, the seaside town in the North West of England. The lights are on from late August/early September till early November (this year it is the 4th September - 8th November). On the opening night of each year, an event called 'The Big Switch On' is held, where a celebrity presses the switch in order to turn on the illuminations.
Two years ago, in August 2007, our family visited Blackpool for a short break specifically for 'The Big Switch On' ceremony. This was because David Tennant was switching on the lights, and my family and I are big Doctor Who fans. There was also going to be Doctor Who illuminations.
So on a dark Friday night, we headed out of the hotel and began to walk down. From what I can remember, the BBC Radio 2 arena where the event is held is nearish to Blackpool Tower. We had passed the arena earlier on in the day, and it was already heaving with people. Before the actual switch-on, I believe there was also a small concert, but we didn't attend this so I can't comment. It is free to attend the concert and the switch-on.
Blackpool was crawling with girls in bunny ears and 'L' plates that evening, as I guess it was an exciting night to have your Hen party. I think there was also a motor bike show, as a load (when I say a load, I mean around 100) of them zoomed passed us, which gave us a bit of an ear-ache.
Anyway, the actual ceremony was absolutely packed, as you can imagine. We couldn't see the stage where the main action was happening, but there was a large screen which captured what was happening. However, even that was hard to see, due to kids on parents shoulders, people waving fluorescent lights, ect. Despite this, the atmosphere was electric and very exciting. Everyone began a count down from ten, and the whole town lit up.
The lights run for 6 miles, and on the night many people drive through the main illumination-lined street to see them. We saw some special decorated trams on the tram line, such as a boat themed cart, covered in lights. By the way, I wouldn't advise getting a tram to or from the ceremony - they are crammed and you have to wait for ages (we learned this from our holiday a few years earlier).
Apart from the Doctor Who lights (which were very good), I also noticed some Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen ones, along with various other themes. The lights run along the promenade, and are great to look at even during the day.
We visited Blackpool again just last week, for the 2009 turn on evening. We didn't go to the ceremony this time; just we walked along the road. They had some new Doctor Who lights this year, but they were further along, towards the Pleasure Beach.
I would really recommend that anyone planning to visit Blackpool does so when the lights are on. We have had four family holidays in Blackpool now, and the illuminations never get old.
Summary: A great event
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