A CRACKING challenge will help kick off festive celebrations with a difference.
Dalton Park shopping centre is to stage an attempt to break the world record for the biggest ever cracker pull.
Organisers aim to beat the figure of 1,438 people pulling crackers at the same time, which was set in Japan.
To top that feat, the centre, in Murton, hopes to attract 1,500 people to join in the event.
The challenge will be part of its Christmas lights switch-on and will take place on Saturday, November 12.
The celebrations, which will feature reindeers from the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland, begin at 11am, when Santa will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage, with a second appearance at 2pm.
Real Radio’s Gary and Lisa will lead a warm-up to the finale at 6pm, when the cracker pull will be held with the switch-on and a fireworks display.
Louise Thompson, marketing officer for Dalton Park, said: “We had a celebrity for the switch-on last year, Ray Quinn, and we were looking for something else and really different, so we thought we could try and break a record.
“We’ve already had some feedback about the idea through Facebook and they’re really excited about it.”
Those taking part in the record attempt will need to fill in forms as part of the verification process, with strict rules to be followed to ensure the attempt passes tough standards.
The event will also help raise funds for Hope 4 Kidz, with collections of gifts and cash to be held in the run-up to Christmas.
The centre has also confirmed its festive opening times, with stores to open until 8pm on weekdays in December until Christmas Eve, when it will be open from 9am to 4pm. It will be closed on Christmas Day, and the Boxing Day sale will run from 10am to 6pm.
It will then return to normal hours from Tuesday, December 27, to Friday December 30, trade from 9am to 4pm on New Year’s Eve and 11am to 4pm on New Year’s Day.