Where and when are Sunderland's Christmas lights being turned on in 2021, and who is turning them on?

Halloween has come and gone, and now the build up to Christmas can begin.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 9:47 am

The start of November means Christmas is bearing down on us all, and whether it be shopping for presents, carolling or meeting family, we all have our own traditions, and Sunderland is no different thanks to the ceremonial turning on of the city’s Christmas lights to begin the festive season.

Following the postponement of the event in 2020, this edition of the ceremony will offer fun for all the family.

When are Sunderland’s Christmas lights being turned on?

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The Christmas lights ceremony marks the beginning of the festive period in Sunderland.

The annual event is happening on the evening of Thursday 18 November in 2021. Festivities will begin at 6:00pm in Keel Square in the heart of the city centre.

What will happen at the switch on?

The ceremonies will involve live entertainment with a school choir in attendance as well as a Salvation Army brass band and carol singers.

A set of drummers from Spark! Performing Arts will be performing to close the show, while Santa will be on hand to hear what kids want ahead of his trip across the world on 24 December.

A fun fair, rides and food stalls will also be in attendance to give the entire family something to do as we all prepare for the festive season.

Who will be turning on Sunderland’s Christmas lights?

Sunderland Mayor, Councillor Harry Trueman, will take his traditional role back this year after being unable to celebrate the event last year, and he will be joined by TV legend Su Pollard to officially start Christmas in Sunderland.

Pollard, who is most famous for her role as Peggy in 80s sitcom ‘Hi-de-Hi!’ is playing the Wicked Queen at Sunderland Empire’s pantomime rendition of Snow White throughout December. The show will be on at the Empire from 10 December until 2 January.

This will be the second consecutive Christmas light turn-on where Panto cast members have been involved, following 2019 when Cinderella and Prince Charming, played by Gemma Naylor and Jon Moses respectively, took charge to kick start the festive period on Wearside.

Those who are intending to attend are advised to wear a face covering and adhere to social distancing in order to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus.