Newport city centre will start the countdown to Christmas with a spectacular event packed with fun for all the family on Saturday, November 16.
Running from 2pm to 5.30pm, Countdown to Christmas will feature live music, fairground rides, celebrity guests and cartoon characters, culminating in the official switching on of Newport’s extended city centre Christmas lights and a breath-taking fireworks display.
Organised by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID), Countdown to Christmas mirrors last year’s hugely successful Saturday event.
Big-name musical acts will be on stage during the day along with local artists, and a special celebrity guest will be helping the city’s mayor Councillor Will Routley push the button to light up the city centre for the festive season. Last year Manchester United and Wales football legend Ryan Giggs did the honours.
There will be fairground rides along the riverfront, Commercial Street and High Street. The event, delivered in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk, Kingsway Centre and Newport City Radio, will culminate with the Christmas lights switch-on at 5.15pm followed by the fireworks display at 5.30pm.
Heart radio presenters Jagger and Woody will be returning to Newport to host the event, as they did last year.
Countdown to Christmas will necessitate some temporary road closures for the set-up and de-rigging of staging and fairground rides, and for the safety of visitors.
High Street and Griffin Street will be closed to all vehicles from 5pm on Friday, November 15, until 11.59pm on Saturday, November 16. Commercial Street (between Skinner Street and Charles Street) and Charles Street (between Talbot Lane and Commercial Street) will be closed from 6am to 9pm on the Saturday.
Newport Now BID manager Kevin Ward said:
“Our Saturday Countdown to Christmas events over the last three years have been hugely successful, with thousands of people enjoying the day. Last year saw more than 8,000 additional people in the city centre compared to the previous and following Saturdays.
“We are sure families from across Newport and beyond will again visit the city centre for what promises to be a fantastic event packed with surprises.”
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, thanked everyone involved in putting on the annual festive event which attracts thousands of people to the city.
“The Christmas lights switch-on event is a chance for everyone to get together to enjoy the entertainment and the spectacular fireworks. I know a lot of hard work goes on from all involved in ensuring this family event is a treat for everyone who attends, and we look forward to welcoming many visitors to join in the festive celebrations.”
Friars Walk Centre Director, Simon Pullen, said:
“Once again, we’re delighted to be supporting Newport Now BID’s spectacular Countdown to Christmas event. It’s set to be another exciting day for the city with a bumper programme of entertainment and events planned for the entire community to get involved with to get ready for the festive season.
“There’s no better time of year and Friars Walk has got a fantastic firework display prepared to celebrate the occasion before the lights are switched on. On top of that, following the success of the inflatable snow globe last year, we can’t wait for everyone to come along and try out the giant Christmas chair that will be around at the shopping centre for the day. It’s going to be a day that you really don’t want to miss.”
Colin Rees, Centre Manager for Kingsway, added:
“Our Santa’s Grotto will be open for visitors and the centre will be buzzing with festive offers and activity. We’re looking forward to rounding off the event with a fabulous firework display off the Kingsway Centre Car Park as well.”
More details about the event – including the special celebrity guest and other musical performers – will be revealed over the next few weeks.
Countdown to Christmas is the latest in a series of city centre events organised or funded by Newport Now BID, a private company made up of more than 400 city centre businesses.