Newport city centre will start the countdown to Christmas with a spectacular event packed with fun for all the family on Saturday, November 17.
Running from noon until 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) in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk, Kingsway Centre and Newport City Radio, Countdown to Christmas mirrors last year’s hugely-successful Saturday event.
Pop acts from TV’s The X Factor will be on stage during the day along with a number of local artists, and a special celebrity guest will be helping the city’s mayor Councillor Malcolm Linton push the button to light up the city centre for the festive season. Last year the then Wales football team manager Chris Coleman did the honours.
There will be fairground rides along the riverfront, Commercial Street and High Street. The event will culminate with the Christmas lights switch-on at 5.15pm followed by the fireworks display at 5.30pm.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said this year’s event promised to get the Christmas season off to a cracking start.
“It’s exciting that we have another great afternoon’s entertainment in the city centre to look forward to before the traditional switching on of the lights and a fabulous firework display. Countdown to Christmas will have something for all ages to enjoy and I hope as many people as possible will join in the festive fun.”
Friars Walk Centre Director, Simon Pullen, said:
“We are thrilled to once again be partnering with Newport Now to bring a brilliant event to the city. Countdown to Christmas marks the official start of the festive period in the city and it is set to be a great day in Newport.
“From 12 noon to 5pm, we’ll have a giant inflatable snow globe that families and friends can climb inside and get a picture of themselves in a winter wonderland that they can take away with them for free.
“With a fantastic programme of entertainment and events throughout the day for the entire family that will culminate in the lights switch-on and the firework display, it really is a bumper day of activity in the city and one not to miss.”
Colin Rees, Centre Manager for Kingsway, added:
“The Countdown to Christmas event is a great opportunity for business across the city centre to work together to create a memorable Christmas event for residents and visitors to Newport. 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.”
Newport Now BID manager Kevin Ward said:
“Our Saturday events over the last two years have been hugely successful, with thousands of people enjoying the day.
“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.”
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.
The event will be followed by a month-long German-style Christmas Market in Commercial Street from November 19 to December 22.