How Great Yarmouth is pushing the boat out for Christmas
PUBLISHED: 14:37 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 19 November 2019
Archant Norfolk © 2015
Tis the season to be sparkly with thousands of extra Christmas lights bringing a new-look "wow factor" to Great Yarmouth.
Some £5,000 has been spent on casting a seasonal glow over the town centre in a bid to find a festive formula that chimes with shoppers.
As well as the town's usual illuminations the Christmas Fayre and market - with 37 stalls this year compared to last year's six - will be festooned with even more dazzling strings.
Meanwhile late-night shoppers can enjoy free fireworks every Wednesday and free Sunday parking across many of the town's carparks.
At the switch-on on November 29 colourful characters from the town's Beauty and the Beast pantomime will mingle with crowds, with shot put star Sophie McKinna leading the countdown.
The 25-year-old, who is limbering up for Tokyo 2020, will be joined by town mayor Michael Jeal, and Father Christmas to do the honours at 7pm.
The switch-on will be followed by a rooftop firework spectacular and late opening of town centre shops and the Christmas Fayre and Market.
Hosted by Rob Chandler from The Beach radio, and organised by the Town Centre Partnership, the switch-on event will include performances from musician Bill Downs of The Voice and The X Factor fame, Centre Stage dance academy, local singer Gaby Starbuck, panto characters, plus a sneak preview of Norwegian Choir Lardal Kantori.
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In a change from last year the Christmas tree has been moved back to the Market Place.
The Christmas Fayre and Market featuring a large marquee and wooden chalets runs from Friday, November 29 to Sunday, December 1.
There will be 37 stalls with live music, a mini fairground, and free rides on Santa's road train to the Minster.
The three-day Christmas Market is being run alongside the Christmas Fayre.
There will also be craft, gift and food stalls in the historic Minster with more stalls and Santa's Grotto in the nearby Priory Centre.
On Saturday, November 30, the Lardal Kantori Norwegian choir will give a concert of traditional and modern Norwegian carols, with a performance starting at 7.30pm, tickets £8.
Graham Plant, chairman of the economic development committee, said: "This year, the market is going to have that seasonal 'wow factor'.
"Entering the marquee to explore the stalls will be like walking into Christmas and will get everyone into the festive spirit."
He said recent efforts had been a bit "staid" but this year was looking much better.