Lighting up time

PUBLISHED: 12:17 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

Jasmine Kitchener with mayor Simon Speller

Jasmine Kitchener with mayor Simon Speller

THE biggest event of the year in Stevenage town centre takes place next Thursday (November 23). That s when panto star Stefan Booth turns on the Christmas lights. And joining him on the Hertbeat roadshow stage will be the lucky winner of our Comet Christm

THE biggest event of the year in Stevenage town centre takes place next Thursday (November 23).

That's when panto star Stefan Booth turns on the Christmas lights.

And joining him on the Hertbeat roadshow stage will be the lucky winner of our Comet Christmas crossword competition.

Jasmine Kitchener, from Baldock, was the first name drawn from hundreds of entries, all bidding to skate onto centre stage for the big switch-on at 6.30pm.

The fun starts at 4pm with Hertbeat's breakfast DJ Steve Folland introducing the fabulous Funky Monks who will be strutting their stuff throughout the evening.

Other entertainment includes performances by Dragonfly, another Stevenage artist, whose debut single Thinkin' About your Love will be released in January, and X-Factor finalists 4th BA5E, who proved hugely popular at last year's switch-on.

Funfair rides, free face painting in The Entertainer and Marks & Spencer, free balloons, giveaways and prizes all add to the festive atmosphere, and at 6pm, Santa and his sleigh will travel through the town centre with free sweets.

The Stevenage Christmas lights switch-on party, sponsored by Universal Personnel, is a firm family favourite.

The cast of Dick Whittington will perform on the roadshow stage at 6.15pm, and then the mayor of Stevenage will join Jasmine, Stefan and the panto cast to turn on the lights at 6.30pm, followed by a spectacular firework display.

The indoor market will open until 8pm on the night of the switch-on and will be offering cheese and wine from 5.30pm, Malaysian cooking, hot soup and rolls and face painting.

The party marks the start of Thursday late-night trading in the town centre. Major stores and the Westgate Centre will open until 8pm every Thursday until Christmas and many stores will open late in the run-up to Christmas. With Sunday shopping from 10am-4pm, including early bird browsing from 9.30am in some stores, there's plenty of opportunity to stock up on presents for the festive season. Visit www.stevenage-town-centre.co.uk/shopdirectory or contact your favourite store for their opening times. For further information visit the events page at www.stevenage-town-centre.co.uk/events, email tcm@ stevenage-town-centre.co.uk or ring 01438 740884.

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