THOUSANDS are expected to pack Swindon town centre tonight for the annual Christmas lights switch-on.

Tinchy to turn on the lights at 6pm

London rapper Tinchy Stryder will be headlining the main stage, while Swindon’s own soul singer and former X-Factor star Jahméne Douglas will open the show at 5pm.

The show will end with fireworks and the Christmas lights being switched-on at 6pm, after entertainment from Voice Kids stars Lilia Slattery and Phoebe Maddison, dance group Tap Attack, Swindon Dance and Nathaniel Parker, who won Swindon’s Got Talent. Heart FM presenters Ben and Mel will host the evening’s acts.

'Really excited'

Lilia Slattery, the 11-year-old Tadpole Garden Village youngster who made it to the final of the Voice Kids show this summer, said: "I’m really excited to be performing at this year’s Christmas light switch on.

"I had so much local support whilst I was on the Voice Kids, so it will be really nice to be able to perform locally again and give something back."

Di Powell, inSwindon chief executive, said: "Our Christmas Experience is a fantastic way to kick off the festive season.

"We deliver many free events all year round, but this one’s certainly our favourite. We are so excited by the amazing activities planned across the town centre and the talented acts joining us on the main stage.

"It doesn’t end there. Our spectacular interactive light trail is a first for the town centre and visitors are in for a real treat this Christmas."

What else is happening? Where will the lights be?

While the evening’s entertainment will start at 5pm, Havelock Square will host a pop-up Christmas market throughout the day.

Children can visit Santa’s Grotto or write their Christmas letters at “Santa’s Post Office” in the Brunel Centre.

InSwindon’s Festival of Lights, which will be launched tonight, will also feature a light trail of 3D and LED installations, including a four-metre-high interactive teddy bear in The Parade and a fountain made from LED lights and set up in Theatre Square. A 20ft Christmas tree will be lit up at Regent Circus and a star will twinkle above Wharf Green.

There will be free events every weekend until December 31, including a Christmas Mariachi band, interactive Christmas Bauble photo booth and LED dancing drummers.

Free entry

Entry to tonight’s Christmas lights switch-on is free. Entertainment starts at 5pm in Wharf Green and the lights will be switched-on at around 6pm.

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