Families have been promised a brighter Sunderland Illuminations than ever before as organisers of the annual event prepare for switch-on.
The festivities begin on Thursday, with one of the biggest-ever displays in Roker Park and Cliffe Park, with attractions including a giant wheel, fairground and food stalls.
The public has already responded, with about 3,000 tickets having been sold online for the Festival of Light in Roker Park.
The illuminations and Festival of Light will feature a mixture of Disney favourites, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, as well as old favourites, including the Alice in Wonderland characters.
Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Coun John Kelly, says the event is important after Sunderland submitted a bid to be the 2021 UK City of Culture.
He said: “This event is hugely important for Sunderland. We’ve worked right across the spectrum to try to get good value for people and make sure that what we do is right for the people of Sunderland.
This event is hugely important for SunderlandCoun John Kelly
“It also helps us celebrate the fact that we’ve just submitted our 2021 bid.
“I’m hopeful that the committee will get a chance to see the illuminations on the seafront ahead of their tour of the city.”
Each £1 online ticket will entitle the ticket holder to a £1 discount on pantomime tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk, which is being held at the Sunderland Empire Theatre between December 5 and January 7.
Sunderland Illuminations will run until November 5, while the Festival of Light will be open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until then.
Sunderland City Council’s head of events, Victoria French, said: “There really is something for everyone.
“I’d encourage people to book tickets in advance, which would save queues and make it a much more pleasant experience for families coming down.”
Sunderland Empire’s senior sales and marketing manager, John Cliff, said: “The illuminations is one of Sunderland’s biggest events, and an event that brings tens of thousands of people into the city every year, just like the panto does.
“Bringing all of those families here is key to making Sunderland a really family-friendly and fun place to be, especially at Christmas.”
To buy tickets, visit www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/illuminations.