Changes afoot for Christmas lights switch-on

X Factor boy band, Kingsland Road, switch on last year's lights
X Factor boy band, Kingsland Road, switch on last year's lights

IT’S that time of year again ... the countdown to the grand switch-on of Wigan’s Christmas lights.

Town centre bosses are tight-lipped over who the headline act will be for the event, however, they do say that for the first time in four years it won’t be a contestant from the current X-Factor series.

They have promised a big national act will perform the duty though on a night packed with free entertainment.

Included in the line-up for the Wigan Christmas Cracker, it’s believed that there will be acts from previous series of the X-Factor as well as from Britain’s Got Talent, but details will only be confirmed nearer to the date on Thursday November 13.

Once again, a night of entertainment has been planned by the Grand Arcade, The Galleries and Wigan Council bosses, kicking off at 4.30pm with the lights being turned on just before 7.30pm in Market Place.

Another change will see Wigan’s Big Brother contestant Luke Marsden hand over the hosting duties to Rock FM, who oversaw the Blackpool Illumination switch on in August.

The event will kick off the launch of the festive season in the town centre.

Santa and his team of reindeer will visit the town on Sunday November 16, leading a huge parade travelling through the town centre.

The parade starts at 1pm from Mesnes Park, travelling via Mesnes Road, turning right onto Standishgate, arriving in Market Place at 1.30pm.

Children will then have the opportunity of meeting Santa and his reindeer in Market Place and be entertained by a host of free performers until 4.30pm.

Local organisations and groups are invited to join the parade.

John Sanson, general manager of the Grand Arcade, said: “The award-winning Wigan’s Christmas Cracker is set to return to provide fantastic free entertainment in Wigan Town Centre this Christmas.

“We look forward to shoppers and visitors enjoying the festive fun we have planned.”

The events also launch festive late-night shopping in Wigan town centre with shops remaining open until 8pm every Thursday.