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Sunderland Illumination guests can see their name up in lights with huge dome centrepiece

The dome on display at a previous event. It will come to Sunderland next month.
The dome on display at a previous event. It will come to Sunderland next month.

A massive interactive illuminated dome is to take centre stage as part of this year's Sunderland Illuminations.

The Festival of Light of Light will be staged in Roker Park, with the dome to be added to the host of displays set out around the seafront site.

The Roker Tap, recreated in lights, has been part of the display in recent years.

The Roker Tap, recreated in lights, has been part of the display in recent years.

Measuring 18 metres across, the Sunderland Sphere will be a new addition to this year’s event, providing up to a 100 visitors a night with the chance to have their messages to loved ones displayed up in lights for all to see - for £5 a go.

Last week, the future of the event was secured by city leaders until 2022.

Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: "Every year we try to make the Illuminations and Festival of Light even better than the last one, and add something new to the old favourites.

People loved the award winning 'Heart Beat’ 3D light sculpture last year where they completed the circuit to light up a giant heart shape, and this year we're providing something even more interactive.

Roker Park hosts The Festival of Light of Light, while the nearby seafront displays will be free for all to access.

Roker Park hosts The Festival of Light of Light, while the nearby seafront displays will be free for all to access.

"When people book their tickets online with their choice of time and day to visit Roker Park to see the Festival of Light, there's also the chance to pay only £5 to have messages to their loved ones, friends and family displayed up there in lights on the 'Sunderland Sphere' for everyone to enjoy."

Each personalised greeting has a limit of 30 characters,and will be displayed on the giant spherical screens once every 12 minutes that evening.

Read more: Sunderland Illuminations: When they will run this year and how many tickets will be available

The online ticket only Festival of Light in Roker Park runs Thursday to Sunday from October 18 until November 18, with the exception of Sunday, November 11, with gates also open every night of the October half-term week.

The Illuminations, which are free and run along the seafront from Seaburn to Roker, are open every evening 4pm to 9.30pm apart from, Sunday, November 11.

The council's head of events Victoria French added: "The Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light attracts people from all over the region, and we’re doing everything we can to make their visit a great one.

“There’s a park and ride system in place and increased public transport services to get people to and from the seafront, online tickets into Roker Park to see the lights display so you can avoid queues, and a mixture of new attractions and old favourites for everyone to enjoy.”

Read more: 19 pictures to get you excited for Sunderland Illuminations 2018

For more information on the event, attractions, and online tickets please visit www.seeitdoitsunderland/illuminations.