Beds, Herts & Bucks

Welwyn Garden City lights up for centenary

fountains Image copyright ZOE COOPER
Image caption The light displays were organised by the town's BID and the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation

Centenary celebrations for the UK's second garden city have been launched with light displays in the town.

Garden City Lights 2020 is a series of illuminated installations over two nights in Welwyn Garden City, which use its landmarks as their backdrop.

The light displays opened on Friday with more than 200 children parading lanterns.

Welwyn Garden City Business Improvement District (BID) said the displays "stand out in the dark" of January.

The Hertfordshire town was born in 1920 after its founder, Sir Ebenezer Howard, bought the land in 1919.

Image copyright ZOE COOPER
Image caption Visitors can also step inside the interactive Whimsical Garden and see their shadows depicted in a garden scene

In the late 19th Century, he had called for the creation of towns combining the advantages of both cities and the countryside while avoiding the disadvantages.

Welwyn Garden City was his second project in Hertfordshire, built after his first, Letchworth, and constructed after April 1920.

'Real celebration'

The light displays were organised by the town's BID and the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation.

The town's bandstand, constructed in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation fountain's multiple jets are also lit up.

Visitors can also step inside the interactive Whimsical Garden and see their shadows depicted in a garden scene.

Image copyright ZOE COOPER
Image caption The light displays opened on Friday with more than 200 children parading lanterns.

BID manager Mariana Bitonte said: "We wanted to celebrate the start of the centenary year in January, but that's when it's cold and possibly wet so it was a matter of finding something to stand out in the dark.

"January is also a very difficult time for the high street so it's also about bringing people into the town for two nights and bringing more footfall to the town than normal [for that time]."

Chairman OJ Daya, said it is a "real celebration of the past, present and future" of the town.

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