A fresh look at Festive Derby

Published: 8 December 2020

QUAD cathedral illuminations

QUAD's in-house technical team will be providing a light show on the tower of Derby Cathedral every night.

Festive Derby is full of the traditional Christmas Trees and lights – but look a little more closely and you will find some unusual seasonal sights to enjoy.

Derby City Council has joined with QUAD to bring some new lighting illuminations to the city. Visitors to Derby Market Place may have already spotted snowflake illuminations sweeping across the square and onto the walls of the Guildhall during the day and into the evening, thanks to the technical team at Derby LIVE. And from Tuesday 8 December, the spirit of Christmas will light up the landmark Derby Cathedral Tower.

QUAD’s in-house technical team, TECH:SQUAD, are producing and engaging an innovative light spectacular on the iconic Derby Cathedral tower, celebrating Festive Derby. Using hi-tech projectors, a light show will be projected onto the clock face and surrounding area of the tower from 5pm to 9pm each evening.

Dr Alex Rock, QUAD’s Head of Technical and Commercial Services, said: "It has been a number of years since QUAD produced a projection mapping show on Derby Cathedral's tower, and we're delighted to work alongside our partners Derby City Council to produce a winter spectacular as part of Festive Derby. The projection is vibrant, and a great reminder of the power of digital technology to engage and inspire."

During weekdays, there is still good availability for Elf Encounter, a 15-min family show in the Market Place playing to just one household at a time. Help a mischievous but well-meaning elf get back onto Santa’s ‘nice’ list! Weekend performances of Babbling Vagabonds’ show are selling fast, but if you’re unable to come into the city centre, an online version is now available to view from Thursday 10 December to Sunday 2 January. For more information and to book, go to the Derby Live website.

The second Festive Market runs from Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 December in Derby Market Place, for some unique Christmas presents produced and sold by local businesses. Wooden chalets decorated with lights make up the stalls for the market, which is free to enter. Before you go in, take a look at the hoardings around them, which have been decorated with seasonal street art by local artists curated by Baby People.

Stalls may be subject to change, but look out for framed and unframed artwork prints and gifts; handmade fudge and chocolate gifts; children’s books; handcrafted wooden toys; handmade pottery and porcelain wall art, vessels and jewellery; cross stitch card, hoops and pictures; bags and hair accessories; handmade and bespoke hats in a range of materials; home décor, gifts and decorations; hand crafted wooden Christmas gifts and decorations; costume jewellery, scarves and handbags; gin liqueur gifts to enjoy at home; hand painted glassware; cakes, blondies and biscuits. Trading hours are 10am to 4pm.

Warming hot drinks, cakes and sweet treats will be served by the QUAD café, while The Tipsy Trotter will sell mouth-watering Turkey Rolls and Brie with Cranberry rolls and Project D will be selling their renowned, delicious doughnuts.

Following a successful first weekend of trading, visitors to the market are asked to continue to play their part and do the right thing for Derby by following the one-way system in place, using the hand sanitiser provided and following social distancing. Although it’s an outdoor venue we recommend that you wear a face covering if you can. Please be mindful of the general Government guidance for Tier 3, and visit only with members of your household and/or bubble, in a group of no more than six.

There will be staff to help regulate the number of people in the market at any one time, and to assist with social distancing. Stalls will accept contactless card payments and toilets will be regularly cleaned. For a full list of all the precautions in place, visit the DerbyLive website.

Capacity will be limited to allow for social distancing, so please be patient, or enjoy some of the other Festive Derby attractions on offer until it’s quieter. From the Market Place, it’s just a short walk under the Guildhall arches to meet the independent traders and enjoy the seasonal atmosphere and displays inside Derby Market Hall. Open from Mon to Sat, 9am to 5pm, the Market Hall is COVID safe and packed with great gift ideas and fresh produce, from fabulous footwear, butchers and bikes, to fishmongers, flowers, fruit and veg. For more information, see the Derby Market Hall website. This is also where you’ll find one of two new art installations, created by local artists working with the University of Derby and Banks Mill – the other is on The Strand, outside Derby Museum.

As you wander through the streets, spot the stencilled elves on the ground as you follow the Elf Trail, or enjoy the creativity that has gone into the Window Wonderland displays in shop windows – look out for the Christmas rainbows!  For more information, see the Visit Derby website.

In Cathedral Square, ice sculptors will be at work from 11am to 4pm on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 Dec. Watch their progress as they carve a block of ice into Christmas-themed designs including an elf, a robin, an angel and a sledge, which will last as long as nature allows. Ice-carving is a slow process so if the area is busy, please enjoy some of the other Festive Derby attractions on offer and come back later. To ensure everyone’s safety, Derby LIVE staff will be on hand to ensure that crowds do not gather around the sculptors as they work.

Inside the Cathedral is the Tree of Light, a Christmas Tree hung with messages of love, hope or memory to mark this special time of year. Write something to add to the tree, or go to the Derby Cathedral website to send it online, and help fill the tree with messages.

Also around the city this weekend, watch out for street performers Maynard Flip Flap’s Man in a Christmas Present on Saturday 12 December. Create your own souvenir of this Christmas by taking a photo at one of our Selfie Boards at The Spot, Market Place, or East Street (outside Millets), and share it with us on social media with #FestiveDerby.

Councillor Robin Wood, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “The first weekend of Festive Derby went very well, with visitors playing their part and following the guidance and enjoying the atmosphere. With even more on offer this week, we all need to continue to look after ourselves and each other and keep that spirit of goodwill.”

Derby City Council, Derby Museums, Derby Cathedral, Derby Theatre, Sinfonia Viva, Quad, Cathedral Quarter and St Peter’s Quarter Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and Intu are among the partners involved in bringing Christmas to the city. Smooth Radio is Festive Derby’s media partner. For a full list of what’s on offer for Festive Derby, see the Visit Derby website.

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