THE festive season in Darlington will get underway with a bang this weekend when the town’s lights are switched on.

Panto star Patrick Monahan will be doing the honours this year, with a little help from Santa.

Live music, street theatre and fireworks are also planned to help get the Christmas celebrations underway.

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The event takes place in the market place on Sunday from 4pm and will feature a range of entertainment, finishing with a fireworks display.

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy said: “We’ve pulled out all the stops to make sure Darlington is the place to come to for free, festive family fun.

“I’m delighted that we can host the live lights switch on and look forward to the streets of our wonderful town centre lighting up once again.”

The Northern Echo:

The Middlesbrough-raised comic, who is taking a starring role in this year’s pantomime at the Hippodrome, will be switching on the lights.

He is playing Buttons in the production of Cinderella, alongside Steps singer Faye Tozer.

Lights have been installed at 80 different sites around the town centre and a tree has been erected in the town centre, near the statue of Joseph Pease.

It will be the first live Christmas event in two years after last year’s festivities had to take place virtually due to the pandemic.

The event on Sunday marks the start of a programme of festive fun, which also includes the return on an ice sculpture trail.

The icy creations will be on display over two weekends in December, on Saturday 4 and 11, when there will also be opportunities to watch live ice sculpting and enjoy other music and theatre entertainment.

A free ice rink will be in the market square every day from Saturday 18 until Christmas Eve.

A Victorian carousel and gift marquee will complete the festive fun.

More details of Christmas events can be found at or on the #LoveDarlo Facebook page.

Cinderella will run at the Hippodrome from 10-31 December.

The Northern Echo:

Tickets are on sale at:

Visitors are reminded that two hours of free parking is available at car parks run by Darlington Borough Council and in on-street parking bays.

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