More than 60,000 flock to first week of Sunderland Illuminations

Crowds enjoy the Illuminations switch-on.
Crowds enjoy the Illuminations switch-on.
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Sunderland Illuminations have lit up the night for more than 60,000 visitors in their fist week.

Visitors to Roker and Seaburn seafront have enjoyed new displays and family entertainment in Roker Park, as well as the return of the illuminated observation wheel at Cliffe Park.

The Illuminations light up the seafront

The Illuminations light up the seafront

The event on Saturday, September 24, when Mayor of Sunderland Counc Alan Emerson was joined by Sunderland AFC legends Kevin Ball and Jimmy Montgomery for the big switch-on.

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture Coun John Kelly said: "It is fantastic to see so many people there having such a good time. The event runs for six weeks and has a wide range of attractions and activities with something for everyone.

"By working with business partners, organisations, and sponsors each year we work to find new and innovative ways of developing this fantastic event.

"This year is no exception and I hope people make the most of the stunning location and come back many times to appreciate our beautiful coastline and its dazzling lighting displays."

This year's event will see all of Roker Park being used for a whole host of new and exciting features, including pirates, dinosaurs and fairies, as well as old favourites including the Sunderland Tap and a Sea of Stars on the lake. Children can take on the role of a pirate, ride on the shuggy boats and take a trip to Treasure Island which leads to the lost island of dinosaurs.

There is a pirate adventure golf course, illuminated arts and lots of other exciting activities to keep the whole family entertained.

Kevin Ball said: "This amazing spectacle is something the city and the region should be proud of.

"I enjoy taking the opportunity to tell the people I meet how fantastic the city is. When you think of the Sunderland Airshow, Illuminations, Keel Square, Concerts at the Stadium of Light, award winning seafront, the bid for City of Culture 2021 and of course the Tall Ships Races in 2018 people can see what a great place Sunderland is."

The lights are on 5-10pm every evening, with last entry into Roker Park at 9pm.

To help ensure that the event will continue to grow and develop a small entrance fee of £1 for Roker Park has been introduced for the first time this year (children aged 2 and under are free).

Tickets can be bought from: City Library (Fawcett Street), Bunnyhill Customer Service Centre, Washington Town Centre library, Houghton Library, Sandhill Customer Service Centre and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Tickets are also available from booths on Cliffe Park, Bede’s Cross and Marine Walk from 5pm every day during the event.

Coun Kelly added: “We’re still encouraging people to buy tickets in advance, to save queuing on the night, and also encouraging use of the park and ride service on a weekend too.

"It’s free for those using St Mary’s or Sunniside multi-storey car parks, and picks up and drops off in Keel Square.

Further details of all the activities for the Illuminations event are available at: www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/illuminations or for Twitter follow @SeeitDoitSund