Bumper crowds set to bring the city to light

The Christmas lights switch-on in Preston in 2011
The Christmas lights switch-on in Preston in 2011
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A huge audience is expected for Preston’s Christmas lights switch-on this Saturday.

The event, which draws bumper crowds each year, will see a packed line-up of performers take to the stage at the Flag Market as the city kicks off its annual Christmas countdown.

Organiser Mark Whittle said: “The 2012 Switch On is going to be the best Preston’s event seen.

“Year on year it grows both in size and quality and with more than 15 artists performing this year, we’re expecting bumper crowds.”

The event starts at 3pm with a premier screening of the Preston Motion Picture project - a special film made by Prestonians to celebrate the 2012 Guild.

Headlining the event will be opera star Russell Watson who will join X-Factor winner Matt Cardle to press the button and switch on the Christmas lights.

Both singers will perform for the crowds at the Flag market stage, where a number of local artists will also perform.

Among them will be up and coming Preston DJ, DJ Nona and Britain’s Got Talent finalists Be Minor.

Cheapside will be closed to traffic from 2pm to 8pm to allow for the crowds but opening hours of the city centre shops will remain unchanged with the main events running into the early evening.

Mark said: “Our priority, as event organisers, is to attract people to Preston to support the business located in the city centre and to provide a first class festive family event for those people visiting the our city.

“Working with Real Radio and having the event supported by Virgin Media, has meant we’ve been far more able to spread the message more widely that Preston’s the place to be this Christmas.”

Visitors are advised to arrive early as crowds of up to 10,000 are expected to descend on the Flag Market for this year’s switch on.

The event will be held in collaboration with Bid Preston and Real Radio, with a number of the stations DJs geeing up the crowds.

The festivities will be finished by 7pm with the lights to sparkle in the city throughout the festive season.