FINAL preparations are under way for tonight’s spectacular and dazzling launch of the Stockton Sparkles Winter Festival.
From 5.30pm visitors will enjoy a whole host of seasonal fun including performances from street ensemble Orkestra del Sol, a mesmerising light show - not to mention the return of the sensational singing Christmas Tree.
The Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Ian Dalgarno and Santa Claus will arrive on a specially created Flycycle to switch-on the town’s Christmas lights and array of glistening, larger than life decorations at 6.30pm.
Last night (Wednesday 25 November) the 60 strong choir and ten piece band who will form the singing Christmas tree met for a final dress rehearsal to get ready for the enchanting evening.
Vocalists from across the Tees Valley will get the crowd into the festive spirit with numbers from Sister Act, Christmas classics and This Little Light of Mine which will incorporate the count down to this year’s lights switch-on culminating in a snowy, sparkling sing-a-long of Christmas songs and carols.
West End actress and former Stockton Riverside College student Jess Daley will top the tree alongside Paul Sudlow from popular North-East cover band, Funk Collective.
Norton-born professional pianist Danny McCormack and Wildcats of Kilkenny frontman, Mike McGrother are the musical directors behind the singing tree bringing together singers and musicians for this uplifting performance of Christmas songs.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Norma Wilburn, said: “Visitors to Stockton Town Centre will be in for a real treat this evening as the town is transformed into a winter wonderland.
“What better way to launch this year’s Christmas celebrations than with an uplifting singsong?
“With giant and glittering decorations, twinkling lights, a bustling Christmas market, wintery street theatre, a reindeer parade not to mention the vast array of independent and national chain shops, eateries and bars, Stockton Town Centre has everything you need for a magical Christmas.”
For full details of this year’s Stockton Sparkles Festival programme visit www.stockton.gov.uk/stocktonsparkles