Thousands expected to join in the festive fun at Ipswich's Christmas lights switch-on
PUBLISHED: 17:14 17 November 2016 | UPDATED: 17:14 17 November 2016
Thousands are expected to descend on Ipswich's Cornhill tonight to celebrate the spectacular start to the Christmas season and the switch-on of the town's festive illuminations.
Mayor of Ipswich Roger Fern will press the button to switch on the lights at 6.45pm joined by the stars of this year’s Ipswich Regent panto, Sleeping Beauty, Town 102 breakfast show presenter Wayne Bavin and a host of festive entertainment.
Guests include Norman Lloyd from the Pigs Gone Wild campaign and youngsters from Ipswich-based Children’s Theatre Company who will be getting up on stage to sing carols and songs from their upcoming musical Cats.
James Fairclough, the Borough Council’s head of culture said: “This is going to be another fabulous night and the launch of the magic that is an Ipswich Christmas.”
The event also marks the start of the late night shopping season, offering even more time to prepare for the big day.
This year Ipswich looks better than ever for shoppers, with a bustling high street, a variety of restaurants and bars and a thriving independent shopping scene.
Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “We have a much better retail offering than last year and a much better leisure offering.
“The shopping experience is better than it has ever been and I would say this is year to give Ipswich a look.
“If you look at Ipswich in terms of brands, not just the commercial units but things like clothing brands, what it has to offer is incredibly strong.
“You are also not dealing with just high street retailers, we’ve got more independents than most of our competitors.”
This will also be the last time the controversial white artificial Christmas tree is used - with a traditional real tree planned for next year.
One of the highlights of Ipswich’s Christmas will be the popular festive market from Friday December 9 to Sunday December 11.
Dozens of stalls offering a vast range of food, drink, gifts and goodies will line much of the town centre with a selection of fairground rides and a giant snow globe for you to have your picture taken in.
The market will stretch from the Butter Market through to Giles Circus, along Kings Street, Queens Street and Princes Street and will also feature entertainment from local bands and groups.
For a rundown of everything you need to know about tonight’s Christmas lights switch-on see here