What can we expect from Sunderland Illuminations?

The llluminations in 2015
The llluminations in 2015
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It’s hoped the city’s legendary floating tap will hover over Roker again this year.

The Tap, once a beloved landmark at Roker Park’s boating lake, has made returns to the city in a new form for the Illuminations.

The Tap last year

The Tap last year

After dates were announced for this year’s light spectacle, it’s hoped the tap will return again, though organisers say they will confirm the full list of illumination attractions closer to the time.

This year’s event, organised by Sunderland Live on behalf of Sunderland City Council, will return to the seafront from Friday, September 23 to Friday, November 5.

Building on the success of last year’s event, which attracted 300,000 people, it promises to be even bigger and better with the run extended this year to go out with a bang on Bonfire Night.

Though it’s been free in previous years, an entrance fee to the park has been introduced of £1 for everyone, except children under two who can visit for free.

The popular Big Wheel

The popular Big Wheel

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture said: “Last year’s Illuminations was fantastic, with 300,000 people visiting from across the region. We want to keep running the event for as long as possible, but simply can’t afford to do that from our own funds.

“We hope people will appreciate the reasons for introducing this very small charge, and be reassured that every penny will go back into the pot for running the event in years to come.”

It has been confirmed that the big wheel will return this year, as well as activities on Ocean Park funfair and Cliffe Park.

Tom Parkin from the Seafront Traders Association said: “The plans are coming together nicely for the illuminations this year, and we’re all looking forward to it.
“Given the council’s budget position and cuts, it’s understandable that it needs to look at alternative ways to keep this event running, for both the local economy and the enjoyment of local residents. The £1 charge for entry to Roker Park seems very reasonable, considering the amount of things that will be in there to see and do.”