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Liskeard Lights Up for the Christmas season

When Liskeard Lights Up on the first Saturday of December, the town is transformed into a carnival lights, cutting through the darkness of the winter night.
Liskeard Lights Up really is a lovely carnival type of event because it is when so many sections of the Liskeard community come together to put on an event at the beginning of December. Although it normally takes place on the first Saturday in December, in 2013 it will be held on Saturday November 30th. It not only benefits the businesses and the local community but also anyone who is visiting the area.

Planning for this big event at such a busy time of year starts months before the big day as schools and community groups go to great lengths to ensure that the enormous lanterns will be even better than the year before.

Liskeard Lights Up with the voice of angels

To give you an idea of how seriously the locals take the ‘Liskeard Lights Up‘ event, there is an expert in Cornish music who visits the schools in the area and works with the children and their teachers to produce an original Cornish medley of Christmas carols. It is the chance to hear something quite special and unique, the like of which you will probably not have experienced before.

What is rather special about this event is that when the big day arrives, the excitement seems to build up from the morning until the grand finale in the evening which sees the Liskeard Christmas lights switched on, accompanied by a crescendo of fireworks which light up the night sky.

The Lantern Parade and Christmas Lights Switch On

As this particular festival is held on a Saturday, there is a more relaxed feel about the place anyway and as Christmas is only a few weeks away, the festive spirit is also starting to kick in. The day starts with an outdoor market with the usual carol singers and Father Christmas in attendance. There is storytelling, face painting and crafts activities in on Pike Street.

Towards the end of the afternoon the excitement really starts to build up. As darkness falls, Liskeard is totally transformed as it becomes lit up with the vast array of stunning lanterns. The effect that these giant lanterns have never ceases to amaze people and the look on the face of children and first time visitors is really magical.

As the carnival makes its way through the town, led by the Liskeard Silver Band, the air is filled with the sound of the children singing the Cornish Christmas carols and carrying lanterns. There is a Carnival Queen and a clever Christmas shadow “piccy tree” which is hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you see it! The climax to the evening is the switching on of the Christmas lights accompanied by a wonderful fireworks display.

Food and drink at Liskeard Lights Up

If you decide to sample any of the pubs or restaurants in the area you will find that there is a real party atmosphere. The town has several traditional old pubs including The White Horse on The Parade which has some good local ales, The Albion on Dean Street, the Red Lion on Lower Lux Street and the bohemian on Church Street which usually has some live music.

My personal favourite for a pub with character is the Liskeard Tavern on Haviland Road near the retail park, which has an excellent menu. There is also the Old Stag, a bit further out of town opposite the railway station on Station Road. It has a pretty beer garden for summer visits and is OK for a drink.

Anyone who is visiting Liskeard to experience this carnival should if possible try and make a day of it. Admittedly, it is the lantern parade and switching on of the Christmas lights which are the highlight of the carnival but to experience the buildup of excitement from mid-morning, all of the way to the finale in the evening is something that you really should try to get a taste of if at all possible.

Does your town spend all year preparing for an event which the whole community gets involved with and looks forward to? Does it compare with this carnival in Liskeard, if so please give us the lowdown.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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