THE Christmas countdown officially begins in Mansfield on Sunday when the town’s Christmas lights are switched on.
This year’s winter spectacular - dubbed ‘The Big Switch On - takes place on a Sunday for the first time and organisers say it will be ‘better than ever’.
Entertainment will take place in the town centre throughout the day, with the timetable including:
l 10am - Christmas Market on Westgate selling everything from homemade gifts to festive food.
lNoon onwards - Folk will be able to enjoy a selection of festive films, which will be shown on the big screens in the Market Place, or listen to local carol singers and brass bands on Stockwell Gate.
l 2.30-3.15pm - Santa will arrive in his sleigh at the Buttercross on Westgate, pulled by Dancer and Prancer two of his trusty reindeer, plus Driver Dan from Driver Dan’s Story Train and characters from Palace Theatre panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, will be making a personal appearance.
l 3.30-5.15 - Live stage show in the Market Place hosted by radio station Mansfield 103.2, kicking off with Mansfield’s Rock Choir.
The show will also feature CBeebies’ favourite Driver Dan, Santa, and characters from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
There will also be music by The Hot Shots, who will be performing a selection of well known rock and pop covers and Christmas classics.
In addition, Paralympic heroes Charlotte Henshaw and Ollie Hynd will appear on stage to join the countdown and switching on of the Christmas lights, which will be followed by a stunning fireworks display and flurries of snow.
This year’s switch on event has moved from the traditional Thursday to a Sunday to make it easier for families to attend.
Organisers say the change also means there are more activities taking place during the day to help get everyone in the festive spirit.
Other attractions include a children’s craft activities at Mansfield Library and in the Four Seasons Centre, where youngsters will be able to make Christmas cards and lanterns.
Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton said the Christmas cracker will once again prove to be a big hit.
He said: “Mansfield really is the place to be this Sunday. There is so much going on that there promises to be plenty for everyone.
“If this doesn’t get you in the mood for Christmas - nothing will!”
A viewing area for wheelchair users will be available at the reindeer parade and main stage show in Mansfield Market Place.
To book a place contact Mansfield 463 733 as soon as possible.
Places must be booked in advance and are on a first come, first served basis.
The event is organised by the Mansfield Christmas Lights Committee, which includes Mansfield District Council, Mansfield BID (Business Improvement District), Four Seasons Shopping Centre, Mansfield 103.2 and the Chad, and supporting partners 6 five 2s Taxis, The Hostess restaurant, Queen Elizabeth Trust, Bowring Transport and Dijitul.