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Countdown to Christmas begins as lights are switched on

Around 8000 people visited Mansfield town centre yesterday (Sunday 19 November) for the annual Big Switch On event, which is organised and brought to the people of Mansfield by Mansfield District Council.

The day was packed with festive entertainment for all the family both inside the Four Seasons Shopping Centre and in the Market Place.

The Market Place saw Clipstone Silverbirds marching band entertain families with well-known Christmas hits while a rotund reindeer and Snowlady skated around them performing tricks. They were joined by a stilt-walking elf who performed his walkabout act while juggling glowing balls.

Over at the Four Seasons Shopping Centre, families took part in the Buzzy B Club workshop by decorating plant pots in a Jack and the Beanstalk theme and planting runner beans. There was a visit from PAW Patrol’s Marshall, as seen on Nick Jnr, and children were invited to visit the ‘Elf Yourself’ station for a magical elf makeover.

Children were delighted as Santa opened his Jack and the Beanstalk themed grotto and Mansfield 103.2’s competition winner, Kayden Betts from Kirkby, was the first child to meet the big man in red.

Kayden received a free photo and gift along with a voucher to buy breakfast in the centre for him and his family to enjoy. The whole family also got the chance to watch the main stage show from the VIP area later on in the day.

The Big Switch On stage show itself, which was hosted by Mansfield 103.2 and brought to you by Mansfield District Council, was full of Christmas cheer as the Mayor opened the event and congratulated local brothers Ben and Tom Birchall on retaining their World sidecar racing title for another year.

Kai McKenzie performed his Michael Bublé tribute act to get the crowds into the festive spirit before Marshall from PAW Patrol invited two children onto the stage to take part in a PAW Patrol mission.

Stars from the Palace Theatre’s pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, took to the stage next to give away a family ticket to see the show, which arrives at the theatre on Saturday 2 December.

Vicky Jackson then revved up the crowds with her high-tempo pop tribute act and was followed by a laser show, which was a first for Mansfield.

Santa then made a magical appearance live on stage and was joined by One Call Insurance and Mansfield Town Football Club bosses, John and Carolyn Radford, and Stags’ Manager, Steve Evans, who sponsored part of the show this year. Together they pressed the plunger and set off a magical firework display as the town’s Christmas lights were switched on.

Kate Allsop, Executive Mayor of Mansfield, said: “The event was a great success and we want to thank everyone who took part and helped the council to make it happen.

“Thanks also to everyone who came along and showed your support. We hope families had a really good day out.”

Rebekah O’Neill, Four Seasons Centre manager, said: “The day has  been spectacular. The Mansfield local community really came together to celebrate the light switch on and combined with all the magical live entertainment and the centre’s daytime festive activity, everyone had a wonderful time.

“PAW Patrol’s Marshall proved a massive hit and of course the queues to see Santa were huge, it really has been a great start to the countdown to Christmas with so much more festive fun planned at the centre.”

The event marks the start of late night shopping in Mansfield every Thursday in the town centre. Santa’s grotto in Four Seasons is also now open every day until Christmas Eve.

If you attended The Big Switch On 2017, Mansfield District Council would like to hear from you to help make improvements to future events. Please fill in the brief evaluation form at www.mansfield.gov.uk/switchon. Your name will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a £30 voucher to spend in the Four Seasons Shopping Centre.

The event was organised by Mansfield District Council with support from Four Seasons Shopping Centre, Mansfield BID, Mansfield 103.2 and Mansfield Palace Theatre. The main sponsor this year was Matthews and Tannert, your local plumbing, heating and electrical services specialist.

Have a look at the photos and highlights video on our Facebook page www.Facebook/mymansfielduk which will be posted later today.