harpenden christmas carnival and lights switch on 2023

Magical festivities throughout the Town Centre - a fantastic celebration for all!

The Christmas Carnival is a lively occasion with plenty of entertainment, activities, food and drink, outdoor bars and music as well as the Christmas Farmers Market and lights switch on. Additionally, the funfair will be situated along the High Street and Church Green. The event welcomes around 20,000 people every year and has become a wonderful traditional start to Christmas celebrations for residents and visitors alike!

Download the event programme here.

Harpenden Town Council is delighted to announce that local UK Solicitors Practice, SA Law, will once again by the event's  Principal Sponsors.Thank you SA Law for your continued, generous support which allows the Carnival to be the incredible celebration we all enjoy! Read more about our Principal Sponsors here.

We are also especially excited to let younger visitors know that Santa and his cheeky elves will be at the Carnival again this year and there will be the opportunity to see them in the Procession as well as in his Grotto. Pizza Express in Harpenden have kindly sponsored Santa’s Grotto and their newly refurbished restaurant, located in the Centre of Town, will be open on the day serving delicious food as usual.

The Procession will begin at 3pm; from Lydekker Park it will travel along the High Street up to Vaughan Road. This year its theme is "Homemade Magic of Christmas" and the Town Council has opened the opportunity to join in to even more groups than before, making it an even bigger showstopper at the event. The Pipes and Drums will lead the parade as tradition dictates, closely followed by Santa and his elves. Joining them are stilt walkers and entertainers, Brownies and Scout groups, schools, entertainers, musicians and other community groups. Get in touch if your group would like to join us!

Live entertainment will be performed on two stages with community groups and music entertainment split between the two. More information about the exciting performance and timings will be announced soon!

The Christmas Lights will be switched on at 5pm by The Town Mayor, Cllr Fiona Gaskell together with the winner of the Mayor’s Christmas Card Competition, a design competition open to children in Harpenden. This is always a show-stopping moment for the Town and a time to appreciate the hospitality and breadth of the best of Harpenden.

Free parking for the event will be available at the Station car park all day; because of expected high attendance the Town Council encourages people to walk to the event where possible. For families attending with young children, there will be free lost child wristbands available at the Town Council Information Tent.


  • Date 26/11/2023
  • Time 12:00 to 18:00
  • Duration 1 Day
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