Free buses to festive lights event in Preston on Saturday

Celebration time: Last year's festivities in the centre of Preston
Celebration time: Last year's festivities in the centre of Preston
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Thousands of people are expected to gather in the centre of Preston on Saturday evening for the city’s Christmas lights switch-on.

For the first time, the major event will be held on Fishergate, which will be closed to cars all day.

And a new act - Toploader - has been added to the music line up for the evening, and will appeal alongside 14 other acts, including headliner Alesha Dixon.

The band will replace Kavana, who will not be appearing because of a change in rehearsals for his touring show.

Free buses will also be provided in the evening, and families are being offered a free ride into the city on any Preston Bus service between 4pm and 5pm.

There will also be extra buses put on later in the evening to make sure people can get home as soon as they like.

The celebrations, outside the Fishergate Centre, will kick off at 5.30pm, and are due to draw to a close about 7.45pm.

Preston’s Business Improvement District’s Mark Whittle said Fishergate would be closed to traffic through the day today from 8am, but businesses and car parks will be open as usual.

He said: “We’re really looking forward to seeing thousands of people join us on Fishergate as we light up Preston for Christmas.

“The city centre will be animated and we’d encourage people to come to town early to enjoy some retail therapy before the event and stay around to sample some of the city’s hospitality, once the switch-on finishes.”

Joining Alesha Dixon at the event will be Bailey McConnell, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014.

The event will also feature Star of Phoenix Nights Archie Kelly and the cast of the Guildhall’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

As another part of the city’s festive celebrations, free parking at St George’s Centre, the Fishergate Centre, the Market Hall and Arthur Street is being offered at certain times in the run-up to Christmas.

The city’s Christmas TV advert will also be beamed to more than 4.5million homes from early December.