CHRISTMAS has officially started in Oxford with the launch of its annual Christmas Light Festival this weekend

Despite changes having to be made due to the coronavirus pandemic, festive projects have still gone ahead with a twist in a bid to lift spirits.

The three-day-event kicked-off last night with the streaming of a film by festival artists Luxmuralis with Fusion Arts.

Inspired by the collections of museums in the city, the film was projected onto some of Oxford’s iconic buildings and could be watched online via the festival website.

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A festival bus lit up with starry lights also toured the city passing through neighbourhoods, and will continue over the weekend spreading some seasonal cheer.

The bus is filled with stained-glass window designs by students from City of Oxford College with street artist Mani.

Oxford Mail:

The Oxford Bus Company open top bus also plays Christmas tunes plus messages of thanks from businesses to Oxford residents.

Adam Goldstein, work experience coordinator at City of Oxford College, said: “This year we are particularly proud to have so many students involved despite the lockdown rules making things tricky.

“In total, 16 art, 16 dance, 22 music and three media students have all worked hard to produce original work for the festival.

Oxford Mail:

“It is wonderful that every year our creative industries students are so involved with Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival and long may our involvement and the festival continue.”

Oxford’s lantern parade is usually a popular event over the weekend, but due to restrictions this year people were encouraged to take part at home by creating their own illuminated window scenes for local light trails over the weekend.

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Towns across the county have had to adapt their Christmas event plans including Carterton with its annual lantern procession.

Normally, pupils at schools make special lanterns which are then paraded in a colourful festive celebration.

But this year, with the help of volunteers, Carterton Town Council has provided 3,000 lantern kits to children at every school who are now busy making what is hoped to be an even more spectacular light show when the big switch on happens on November 27.

Oxford Mail:

Councillor Jill Bull, West Oxfordshire district councillor for Carterton North West and the town’s deputy mayor, said: “We were determined to keep the project alive – it has become a tradition since starting eight years ago and it’s a real morale boost for everyone involved.

“Every child in the town will be able to make a lantern from a kit and the idea is that we light up the whole town, not just the centre.”

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Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival has been funded by Oxford City Council and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

To view a full list of what other projects will be happening this weekend, as well as how to get involved, visit