Leighton Buzzard is getting set for some Christmas sparkle, with panto stars set to turn on the town’s festive lights this Friday.
The big switch-on marks the start of the annual Christmas Festival which runs over th e entire weekend.
Gary Wilmot and Wayne Sleep, who are starring in Aladdin at Milton Keynes Theatre, will perform the honours at 7pm.
As is tradition, there will then be an array of fireworks to stir up the festive excitement amongst the crowd.
For the first time this year, the Leighton-Linslade Town Council invited local Year 4 students to enter a Christmas Motif Design competition.
The three winners Selena Li from Greenleas School, Natasha Scott and Lucy Mclean from Clipstone Brook, will see their winning designs illuminated when the lights are switched on.
The annual Christmas Festival is jointly organised by town council and LB First, and the excitement begins with entertainment and of course shopping with additional stalls on both Friday and Sunday, with the general market trading on the Saturday too.
The Rotary Club of Leighton-Linslade is working with the town council to sponsor the Christmas tree lights for the next three years.
Town Mayor, Cllr Ray Berry said: “We really do have a community to be proud of. Our very active local organisations LB First and the Rotary Club just prove how fortunate we are to have people investing in their town for the benefit of local businesses and residents. The icing on the cake is the celebration of our local children in having their designs as part of our town’s lighting scheme.”
Sunday is ‘Family Day’ and various activities will provide hours of entertainment, from live reindeer to walkabout penguins, ice carving demonstrations to the kiddies’ ice rink, crafts and fun fair. Once again visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Sunday Christmas market.
Gennaro Borrelli, chair of LB First, said: “This year I am delighted that two stars from the world of entertainment Gary Wilmot, as Widow Twankey and Wayne Sleep as the Genie of the Lamp, will be joining us on stage for the big Friday night switch on.”
“This year’s Christmas Festival will have a new look to it. We have moved the Food Court from Church Square to North Street, to ease access for the Christmas Tree Festival taking place in the Church and the Santa Fun Run on the Saturday.
“Santa’s Grotto will be moving to North Street and there will be a Friday funfair in Church Square instead. We are always trying to fit more into a very tight space. We hope you like the new look, but the same old fun will be there.”
Don’t forget to support the Santa Fun Run on Saturday and take the opportunity to drop in to All Saints Church and admire the large display of decorated Christmas trees.