Blackpool illuminations

excerpt from Muppet Show Fan Club


Jim Henson and Dave Goelz perform Kermit and Gonzo in Blackpool

BLACKPOOL sweetums

Sweetums with the Statler light behind him

Blackpool Illuminations is an annual lights festival, founded in 1879 and held each autumn in the English seaside resort of Blackpool on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, England.

Known locally as The Lights or The Illuminations, they run each year for sixty-six days, from late August until early November. The light show is six miles long and uses over a million bulbs for the displays.

Beginning in 1934, The Big Switch On has featured a celebrity pulling a switch to turn on the lights. On Friday August 31, 1979, Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, and Sweetums turned on the big switch at 9:30 p.m.

Excerpt from The Muppet Show Fan Club Newsletter volume 2, number 3:

Muppets Light The Town: Blackpool, England is a seaside resort renowned for its electric lights displays. Recently, the Muppet characters became part of the famous illuminations. Kermit himself presided over the opening ceremonies and was honored with an invitation to lunch from the Mayor of Blackpool. Muppet fans came face to face with Sweetums as he watched the proceedings, and Gonzo also took time off from the Muppet Theater to assist with the wiring of the lights. Despite Gonzo's help, all went smoothly and when Kermit threw the switch, Blackpool lit up with Muppet madness.

Light displays featuring likenesses of the Muppets included:

Other celebrities who have flipped the big switch have included The Bee Gees, Shirley Bassey, Joanna Lumley, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Geri Halliwell.

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