Music, fireworks and special guests are all lined up to thrill the crowds during this year's Sunderland Illuminations.
Sunderland AFC legends Kevin Ball and Jimmy Montgomery will join Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Alan Emerson in the big switch-on which is taking place at 7pm on Saturday in Cliffe Park, Seaburn.
A spectacular array of installations and exciting new features including pirate, dinosaurs and an array of weird and wonderful sights will be lit up in Roker Park and along the seafront. One minute of fireworks will light up the sky following the switch on.
Coun Emerson said: "I hope to see everyone come along with family and friends and make the most of this fantastic occasion. The Sunderland Illuminations has developed into something truly special for the city and our fantastic coastline. Last year over 300,000 people visited the event, and we hope to see more this year, the Illuminations is an event we should all be proud of.
Ian Brannan and Danni Moore from the Sun FM breakfast show will host a packed event programme from 7 until 8pm, including live music from St Anthony’s senior school choir, Songbirds, and a performance from local singer Chloe Castro who appeared on BBCs The Voice.
The Spark! Drummers will wow crowds with a live music, movement and lighting spectacular and Paralympic swimmer and gold medallist Matt Wylie, from Washington, will make a special guest appearance.
Coun Emerson added: “I’d like to thank our partners Aurora/Balfour Beatty Living Places, Blackpool Council and Sunderland Live as well as all my council colleagues for their hard work in delivering such a fantastic event. I’d also like to thank the local businesses and partners who have both sponsored and supported this event, they should reap the rewards of an influx of visitors to the seafront.
Tickets can be bought for the launch night or for any other night, 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 will be sold from booths on Cliffe Park, Bede’s Cross and Marine Walk from 5pm every day from 24 September, plus at entrances to Roker Park on Park Parade and Roker Park Road.
A limited number of tickets are available for the launch night, and visitors are advised to buy them in advance.
Park and ride will be in operation from the city centre, every 20 mins on Fridays to Sundays, picking up from the bus stop opposite Keel Square, at the former Vaux site. There will be no parking available in the streets near the seafront Fridays-Sundays. The park and ride service is free on presentation of valid parking ticket from St Mary’s or Sunniside car parks.