Festive celebrations for Christmas light switch ons

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A line-up of entertainment for Pontefract, Castleford and Wakefield’s Christmas light switch ons has been revealed.

There will be a three day celebration in Wakefield city centre beginning at Trinity Walk shopping centre next Thursday.

Festivities start at 4.15pm with stage entertainment including a performance from pirates Cook and Line from the Cbeebies Swashbuckle show, Santa Claus and characters from Theatre Royal Wakefield’s pantomime.

The lights will be turned on at 5.15pm.

Popular football pundit Chris Kamara will flick the Wakefield Council city lights on next Friday.

The Sky Sports presenter will be joined by the Mayor of Wakefield Coun Harry Ellis, on the Bull Ring at 5.30pm.

Attractions on the day will include a Christmas market alongside Wakefield’s new outdoor market from 10am.

Music from a road show hosted by Ridings FM starts at 4pm and there will also be stilt walkers entertaining the crowds.

Coun Les Shaw, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: “We’re really pleased that Chris Kamara, who’s lived in the district for over 20 years, is coming to help turn the lights on in Wakefield.

“He’s very popular and there’s already been a great reaction on social media. I hope that lots of people will come into the city centre, enjoy the festivities and see our celebrity guest.”

Wakefield’s celebrations will finish on Saturday, November 19, when Castleford-born singer Jack Walton switches on new lights at The Ridings shopping centre.

The X Factor star who made it through to the live shows in 2014, will take to the stage to perform a selection of songs, before flicking the switch.

There will also be performances from Bloxed Beats beatboxers, Wakefield Community Gospel Choir, Priory Players and Wakefield Girls High School.

The festive fun will continue with players from Wakefield Wildcats revealing their new home shirt for 2016/17 and performances from the team’s dance crew Trinity X.

Sara Hassan, Marketing Manager at the centre said: “We hope to kick start the festive celebrations by hosting an unforgettable Christmas lights switch on, which showcases an amazing range of Yorkshire talent.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming local star Jack Walton back to the centre and to hosting lots of activities for people to join in and enjoy throughout the day.

“There’s no doubt that shoppers will be entertained from start to finish.

“Our switch on is one of our most popular events in our calendar so we’re encouraging shoppers to arrive early to enjoy all the fun on offer.”

The event takes place from noon until 3pm. And The Ridings will also give away £250 worth of shopping vouchers.

Elsewhere in the district, seasonal Christmas markets will be held in Pontefract and Castleford to mark their switch ons.

The markets begin at 10am and offer gifts, crafts, food and drink. There will also be live music and entertainment.

Pontefract’s switch-on will take place on Monday, November 21 at 6.30pm. Among the attractions will be donkey rides, children’s activities in the library and a Santa’s grotto at St Giles Church.

Castleford’s lights will be switched on at 5.30pm on Tuesday, November 22. The event will include a dance troupe, mascots and a community lantern parade. Players from Castleford Tigers will also be attending.

Coun Shaw said: “The lights switch-ons and Christmas markets mark the start of the festive period and provide an opportunity for families and friends to get together, to enjoy the entertainment and the shopping experience. ​We want to encourage everyone to come along, join in, and have a great time.”