Countdown to the festive switch-ons!

Gorleston Christmas light switch on by Toni Warne.A large crowd gathers for the switch on.

Gorleston Christmas light switch on by Toni Warne.A large crowd gathers for the switch on. - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

The borough’s two main shopping hubs are gearing up for a dazzling season of light entertainment and retail opportunity as the switch is thrown on countless twinkling bulbs.

Great Yarmouth Christmas lights switch on in the market place.Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth Christmas lights switch on in the market place.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

Hundreds of on-lookers are expected in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday November 27 when the mayor John Burroughs will do the honours, accompanied by live music in the market square as fireworks flash across the sky.

The entertainment begins at 6pm with top local singers to warm-up the crowd with some upbeat Christmas tunes before radio breakfast show presenters Rob and Chrissie take to the stage to start the countdown.

The mayor and his guests will arrive shortly before 7pm to switch on the lights and set off the rooftop firework display. The entertainment then continues with more live music, donkey reindeer rides and most town centre shops staying open until 8.30pm.

Free parking is available in all borough council town centre car parks from 4pm everyday (except Market Place) and Sainsbury’s car park from 3pm on the late night shopping evenings.

The drive to keep Christmas consumers local continues over the following few weeks with Christmas family fun nights, late night shopping and fireworks on Wednesdays December 4 and 11 from 6pm.

Adding to the jollity will be sing-a-long festive songs and a competition to give shoppers the chance to win £100 to spend around Great Yarmouth town centre. The donkey reindeer will be in town ahead of a rooftop firework finale at 8pm.

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Events culminate in a reindeer lantern parade, late night shopping and Christmas carols on Wednesday December 18 from 6pm.

The procession of lanterns large and small will be led by the Reedham reindeer and followed by carol singing around the Christmas tree in the Market Place.

Meanwhile a festive fireworks spectacular will start Gorleston’s countdown to Christmas in style.

High Street traders in the town are throwing an all-day bash on Sunday, November 24, with pyrotechnics part of the event for the first time ever.

The street will be closed from 11am to 7pm, as fun stalls and live entertainment take over the town centre. Kevin Huggins, speaking on behalf of organisers Gorleston Traders’ Association, said: “It’s been a massive effort from everybody and we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s a real Gorleston thing and if anyone else wants to get involved I’m sure we can fit them in somewhere.”

High Street, Baker Street, Church Lane and Lowestoft Road to just before Stradbroke Road will be closed to traffic for the event.

And a carnival atmosphere will lead up to the two main moments - the lights switch on at 5pm and the fireworks display at 6pm.

Among the entertainment will be local dance groups DPA and Fay Bedford School of Dance.

There will be also be a dog show, which is still seeking more contestants, and Dolly Oddball will host a 1950s tea party and 1940s car show. Live bands Banjax, Distant Sun and Starzz will take to the stage, and youngsters can enjoy a treasure hunt - with many local shops participating.

Santa will be at his Gorleston Grotto in Fusion.

More stallholders are welcome to join the celebrations, with no charge for members of Gorleston Traders’ Association, or £25 for non members.

Any volunteers who can spare some time to help on the day, or groups wishing to perform, are asked to call Kevin Huggins on 01493 600788 or visit the Gorleston Traders’ Association page on Facebook.

Mr Huggins hopes the event will remind people how valuable their local high street is to the community.