Gearing up for festive de-lights

THIS Christmas there is even more to tempt shoppers into Lowestoft.

And next week, festive family fun will take over in the town during an action-packed Christmas lights switch on.

Retailers in Lowestoft are gearing up for the busiest time of year. A host of entertainment is planned for all the family plus free parking and one of the country's best known radio stations next Thursday evening.

With one of the region's top pantomimes and the centre boasting one of the largest selections of national and independent retailers in Suffolk, the Town Centre Management Partnership has teamed up with the Marina Theatre to present a spectacular Christmas lights switch on event featuring star names, family entertainment and live music, with late night shopping and a festive family fun day.

The fun kicks off on Thursday, November 25, with Heart breakfast stars Rob and Chrissie hosting the Heart Sound Stage from 5-6.30pm outside BHS. Former Big Breakfast host Mike 'Squeaky' McClean and Hi De Hi's Nikki Kelly, will also be present, alongside their fellow cast members from this year's Lowestoft panto, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

They will be joined by Father Christmas, Waveney District Council chairman Alan Duce, Wenhaston Girls Choir, players from Lowestoft Town Football Club as well as some special surprise guests, live music and family entertainment before the official switch on at 6pm by Nikki Kelly (Wicked Queen from Snow White) and Mike McClean (Muddles from Snow White).

A special arts and craft fair takes place in the Britten Centre along with children's rides and attractions in London Road North and there will be free parking in all council car parks from 4pm,

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In support of the festive campaign the council has also agreed to make its car parks available free for late night shopping from 6pm on each Thursday in December and on Saturdays in December from 2pm. All day parking on Sundays will cost �1.

Town centre retailers are also backing The Journal's Shop Local for Christmas campaign, and there will be two extra late night shopping evenings for those hunting those last minute gifts on December 21 and 22.

A special family day will take place between 11am and 3pm on Saturday, December 18, guests will include local radio station, The Beach with more attractions to be announced soon.

Town centre manager, Emma King said: 'We are delighted to announce details of our Christmas Lights Switch On event which this year will be bigger than ever.'

This week, staff from Cozens Lighting installed 31 Christmas lights in the town with the town's illuminated Christmas tree to be unveiled in the next few days.

Also bringing the community together at Christmas time in Southwold, the town's traditional lights switch-on bonanza will take centre stage on Friday, December 3. Music, shopping, fun and frolics will hit the Market Square from 5pm, with the switch on, sponsored by Adnams, by Father Christmas, at 7pm.

Choirs will be singing outside Adnams cellar and kitchen store and on the main stage where there will also be entertainers performing during the evening. Stalls will line the street selling Christmas gifts, Father Christmas' reindeer will also be appearing in the town and there will also be a live Nativity scene outside the United Reformed Church.

Kirkley's Christmas lights switch on is also on Friday, December 3.

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