The skies above Stafford will be lit up this weekend (Saturday 18th) when the Christmas Lights get turned on around the town centre.
Live music and fireworks will complement the big switch-on which takes place in the newly renovated Market Square and is seen as the start of the traditional countdown to Christmas Day in Stafford.
Thousands are expected at the annual event which provides the platform to showcase the county town as a great place for people to have their festive parties and do the Christmas shopping in the run up to the big day.
Throughout the day there will be stalls, street theatre, and traditional fair rides with a special appearance by Father Christmas himself at the Ancient High House and then on the main stage in the Market Square.
Shoppers and families will be able to take part in a special Christmas Trail organised by Stafford Borough Council, offering prizes from shops, cafes and the Gatehouse Theatre.
Stars of this year’s Beauty and the Beast pantomime will keep the crowd entertained on the main stage and there will also be a DJ and live music acts from 3pm onwards.
The festive extravaganza is managed by Freedom Leisure on behalf of the council.
The event begins with The Living Spring Choir from the Harvest Centre, Stafford. Local legends, the Cartoon Kings, will be on stage from 3.50pm, before handing over to some very special stars from Beauty and the Beast.
The Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Andy Cooper, and Santa himself will arrive just before 5pm for the traditional countdown, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. After that, the Cartoon Kings will be back with another set before the stage closes at 6pm.
A giant video screen will make sure everyone has a good view but organisers are urging people to arrive early, as the main area in Market Square will temporarily be closed from 4.45pm for safety reasons.
At 5pm the Mayor will flick the switch to turn on thousands of sparkling lights all over the town centre.
The Market Square has seen 2,500 square metres of paving, new furniture and planting, as well as significant improvements to underground infrastructure such as utility supplies and drainage, paid for by the ‘Future High Street Fund,’ and is the first phase of the transformation of the High Street.
Councillor Gillian Pardesi, Cabinet Member for Leisure at the council said: “This is always an amazing day and the perfect kick start for the borough in the run up to the big day in the county town.
“The centre of Stafford has become the focal point of attention recently, not just in this borough but across the region, with the exciting plans we have announced and the huge investment coming into the area. And the popular Christmas Light Switch On is yet another way to let the town shine.
“I am sure the day will bring thousands of shoppers and families to our town centre with the event staged on a renovated Market Square. It marks Stafford’s traditional countdown to Christmas Day and we can’t wait to light up our county town once again.”
Laura Morris, Freedom Leisure’s Events Manager, said: “This is the biggest day of the year in the town centre and we’re so excited to be working with Stafford Borough Council to get everyone in the festive mood. It’s great to see the Christmas lights going up around town already and it’s always a magical moment when they first go on.’”
The pedestrianised area in the town centre will be shut to traffic from 10am on Friday (Nov 17) to 10pm on Saturday (Nov 18).
Press Release No 6087