The countdown to Stockton Sparkles is on.
Stockton Town Centre’s annual festival will begin next week transforming the High Street into a magical winter wonderland.
Hosted by BBC Tees, the launch event on Thursday 30 November will be a fun-packed evening filled with festive music and dance.
Stockton’s very own unique singing Christmas Tree is returning. Decorated with silver tinsel and lights, the tree will have a new, contemporary look this year.
Three Stockton based choirs will make up the illuminated tree, directed by Wildcat, Mike McGrother and topped by singer-song writer and guitarist from The Wonder Stuff, Dan Donnelly.
Street theatre, music and dance will entertain the crowds from 5.30pm with the town’s larger than life decorations and the lights on the traditional Christmas tree being switched on by Santa Claus and the Mayor and Mayoress of Stockton-on-Tees at 6.30pm.
Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Maurice Perry, said: “The launch of Stockton Sparkles is always a very special evening. The singing Christmas tree has become a well-loved institution and one that brings the town together for plenty of festive fun and this year is going to be no exception.
“I encourage everyone living in and around the Borough to come along and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and entertainment which is guaranteed to get you in the mood for Christmas.”
The launch night is also the official opening of the Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market and Stockton’s first late night shopping evening.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Norma Wilburn, said: “There’s something for everyone to enjoy at Stockton Sparkles this year. From the fantastic Stockton Sparkles Market to a Victorian fun fair, seasonal street theatre and the much loved reindeer parade all set amongst the town’s glittering decorations.
“Don’t forget, Stockton is home to independent shops and national chains as well as the regular Wednesday, Friday and Saturday markets so you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the perfect Christmas gifts and the town’s cafes and restaurants are a great place to stop and refuel while out shopping for friends and family.”
In its tenth year, the Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market will take place on Stockton High Street from Thursday 30 November until Sunday 3 December. Around 30 log cabins will offer a range of handmade crafts, gifts and tasty treats accompanied by some fabulous festive entertainment including performances from school choirs and the Tees Valley Music Service brass band as well as arts, crafts and face painting.
On Thursday 30 December and Friday 1 December school children from across the Borough will be taking over eight stalls to sell their festive wares.
There will even be a chance to drop off a letter for Santa at a very special post box.
The market will be open 9am until 7.30pm on Thursday 30 November, 9am until 6pm on Friday 1 December and Saturday 2 December and 10am until 4pm on Sunday 3 December.
For more information about Stockton Sparkles' exciting programme visit www.stockton.gov.uk/stocktonsparkles
Take a look at last year's sparkling opening night on Flickr here.