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Christmas is coming - and so is Stockton Sparkles! Here's all you need to know

15 November 2023
Four images showing events from Stockton Sparkles in previous years. Text says "Stockton Sparkles"

Four images showing events from Stockton Sparkles in previous years. Text says "Stockton Sparkles"

Residents across the Borough can get into the Christmas spirit with the return of Stockton Sparkles this month.

The ever-popular annual event returns with the launch night and Victorian Fair next Thursday (November 23).

And there's also the return of the Christmas Markets, Lantern Parade and Festive Tipi to look forward to over the coming weeks.

Here's everything that's in store...

The fun starts at the launch night!

Stockton High Street will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the Sparkles launch night, with entertainment from 5pm on Thursday, November 23.

The evening will be hosted by popular BBC Tees presenter, Gary Philipson, and he will be joined on the stage by Dan Westwood and Santa himself!

And the ever-popular Singing Christmas Tree is back with a 50-strong community choir, 'Stockton Sings', accompanied by Loud Noises and the Apollo House Band featuring Marina Gears. Street theatre performers will also keep the audience entertained.

The Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Jim Beall, will switch the lights on at 6.30pm.

Make sure to visit the free Victorian Fair too!

Ride the 50-foot ferris wheel and carousel at our free Victorian Fair, which is open from Thursday, November 23 to Sunday, November 26.

The fair is open from 10am until 8pm on launch night (November 23) at the High Street car park.

The fair then moves to the central area of the High Street after launch night and is open from 10am until 5pm on the Friday (November 24) and Saturday (November 25). The fair closes at 4pm on the Sunday (November 26).

There will also be two wooden cabins with free activities such as face painting on Saturday and Sunday.

Find the perfect gift at our Christmas Markets

Our Christmas Markets are the ideal place to pick up a festive present from Thursday, November 30 until Sunday, December 3.

There will be 22 cabins housing a range of local traders offering gifts like candles, digital prints and Christmas decorations.

Plus, there will also be a host of food and drink on offer, including pizza, cookies, pies and more!

The markets will be open from 10am until 4pm on Thursday, Friday (December 1) and Saturday (December 2) - and from 11am until 5pm on Sunday (December 3).

And the Tipi is returning for Christmas Markets weekend!

The festive Tipi was a very popular addition to Stockton Sparkles last year and is back again as an ideal place to enjoy your food and drink or to get warmed up.

Plus, there will also be a programme of free activities inside the Tipi for families to enjoy throughout the weekend.

Stories with Santa will return on Thursday (November 30) and Friday (December 1), with a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter present. Sessions are designed to engage school, nursery and community groups, but there will be a very limited number of tickets available from the Enjoy Stockton-on-Tees shop from November 20, as well as a small number available on the day.

On Saturday (December 2), there will be mini candle pot workshops with New Leaf at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. This is a ticketed workshop with limited spaces and tickets will be available from the Enjoy Stockton-on-Tees shop from November 20, as well as a small number available on the day.

Then on Sunday (December 3), there will be drop-in Christmas card making workshops with Dawn Evans and Letters to Santa with PEG Creations. No tickets are needed for these workshops.

Rounding-off the Christmas Markets weekend with the Lantern Parade

The dazzling Lantern Parade is back at 4pm on Sunday, December 3, with 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland' as the theme.

Join Santa as the vibrant parade makes its way down Stockton High Street, with participants from schools across the Borough and other community groups.

Participating schools have made their own lanterns with artists Morwenna Catt, Adele Catchpole, and Jane Bizimana.

Audiences will be entertained with music from Apollo - and there will also be free glitter painting available from the Sparkle Scene.

What do Councillors think?

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, said: "It's always so exciting when Stockton Sparkles arrives - and once again there will be something for the whole family to enjoy in the run-up to Christmas.

"The Sparkles events are going to start in style with the launch event, so get yourself along to Stockton High Street on November 23 for an evening of fun entertainment!

"And remember to stay tuned to our social media channels for further information on these upcoming events."

Is there anything else I need to know?

We are expecting there to be high demand for car parking spaces, particularly on launch night when there is a show at the Globe Theatre. However, there are more than 1,000 parking spaces in Stockton, including the Riverside car park and Wellington Square car park. Visit the car parking page of the Council's website for a full list and a downloadable map.

Some road closures will also be in place, including the High Street, for launch night and the Lantern Parade (December 3). This will affect bus stops so visit the Connect Tees Valley website to help you find the best options for your journey.

For more information on Stockton Sparkles, go to the Visit Tees Valley website.

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