By Hertfordshire Commercial & Event Photographer Zoe Cooper

This time last year (2019) I was photographing the Welwyn Garden City Christmas light switch on.

An event held in Welwyn Garden City town centre in Hertfordshire, attracting thousands of people, lots of market stalls and fairground rides. Fast forward 12 months and, well, what a difference a year makes.

All planned community events in the town centre this year had to be cancelled (thanks Covid). Welwyn Garden City town centre has, like all town centres, been hit hard as a result of this years national lockdowns. All shops were consequently closed, and the public asked to stay home.

As the second lockdown ended Christmas loomed, and to be honest it all felt pretty bleak. However, despite their toughest year, the businesses behind WGC BID did manage to offer up some Christmas joy for local community. And I was thrilled to be asked to photograph for their marketing, promotions and press.

Christmas Light Trail

This years Welwyn Garden City’s Christmas light trail is very different to last year’s Christmas event. But, perhaps more special because it was put together under such difficult circumstances.

Hertfordshire was coming out of lockdown and straight into a tiered system with restrictions. There were specific considerations, for example, firstly it needed be socially distanced, have provisions such as hand sanitizers. And above all, had to find a way to welcome the local community back safely.

This was achieved by having light installations dotted all around the town. From the fountain all the way up to the Howard Centre, visitors could easily spread themselves out. They also introduced an app to make the trail more interactive and encourage public to share photos and win prizes on social media.

The lights have made the town look fantastic. A buzz of excited children patiently queuing for a picture next to the popular teddy bear and penguin.

As I photographed I noticed people just looked really happy to be out again. In short it felt like this year more than ever there was a real appreciation for the magic of Christmas, and most importantly, having a local community to share it with.

If you are a business owner and have a need for photography for your business or planned event for 2021 get in touch to discuss what I can do for you.