Mansfield gears up for the festive season

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The genie will be out of the lamp to launch a magical festive season in Mansfield at the annual Christmas lights switch on.

The Big Switch On 2015 will take place on Sunday, November 15 in Mansfield town centre between 11am and 5pm, featuring guest celebrities from the Palace Theatre’s pantomime, Aladdin, and full day of free entertainment for all the family.

This traditional event marks the opening of Santa’s grotto in the Four Seasons Shopping Centre and the start of late night shopping every Thursday from November 19.

The event will include entertainment in the Market Place and a Christmas market from 11am to 5pm on Westgate.

Paddington will be making personal appearances at intervals throughout the day while elf stilt walkers will be mingling with the crowds. Visitors will also be able to learn a few circus skills or magic tricks.

Mansfield BID will be running an Aladdin-themed treasure hunt with prizes to be won, and there will be a spectacular stage show, including a performance by Mansfield Rock Choir and a brass band, playing your favourite Christmas hits to get you into the festive spirit.

Meanwhile get ready to take a celebrity selfie as stars of the Palace Theatre’s Aladdin pantomime will be making appearances, including the panto baddie Abanazar, played by Philip Martin Brown (Grantly Budgen from Waterloo Road), who said: “This panto is full of thrills and laughs and everyone gets the chance to be frightened. Abanazar has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.”

He added: “I’ve made a career out of playing baddies. When I was in my 20s, I used to play boy next door type roles, but as I got older, I started to look like a villain…I like frightening people!”

The switch on will feature a Christmas parade near the library at 2pm and finally Santa himself will turn on the Christmas lights and start a magical firework display at the stage show in the Market Place from 3pm.

Executive mayor Kate Allsop said: “This will be a fantastic fun family occasion and will be a wonderful way to hail the season of goodwill so don’t stay at home - come along and get into the true spirit of Christmas in Mansfield.”

The event is being organised by Mansfield District Council with Four Seasons Shopping Centre, Mansfield 103.2, Mansfield BID, the Palace Theatre and our supporting partners, 6 five 2s Taxis.