Brighton Christmas Festival 2021: Anita Dobson switches on lights and bad weather temporarily closes market

The Christmas market - which features more than 80 festive stalls and attractions - opens from 11am till 1pm each day until December 31.

EastEnders legend Anita Dobson switched on the lights at Brighton Christmas Festival on Friday (November 26).

Hundreds of people packed into the festival site at Valley Gardens, to see the official opening by the actor who will soon be starring in Aladdin at the Brighton Centre.

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The Christmas market - which features more than 80 festive stalls and attractions - opens from 11am till 1pm each day until December 31.

Hundreds of people packed into the festival site at Valley Gardens, to see the official opening by the actor who will soon be starring in Aladdin at the Brighton Centre.

Anita said: "I am so happy to be here in Brighton with so many people with smiles on their faces.

"We've all had a wretched time with Lockdown, and hopefully now we can all enjoy this Christmas."

After a successful opening day, the market was forced to close early on Saturday, in the face of strong winds and deteriorating weather as Storm Arwen blew through the city.

A spokesman for the festival said: "Health and safety have to be our number one priority. We provided a number of updates on social media and we tried to engage with as many people as possible. We do acknowledge that some people were not happy and we are sorry for that, we did our very best in challenging conditions."

Hove-based E3 Events, which won a three-year contract from the city council to run the Festival, said the site was once again open from 11am the following day.

The festival's marketing director Lukas Wojcik said: "It was fantastic to have Anita come down for the official turning on. I want to thank everyone who was there to see her, the atmosphere was just amazing, and it was very moving.

"We are now looking forward to an amazingly successful Brighton Christmas Festival. We are running until the end of December, and we are confident it will be a massive success.

"It is just what Brighton and Hove needs after such a tough time, and we are determined to make it very special."

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