Families are encouraged to come down to the Cornhill early to join in the countdown to the big switch-on, which last year attracted national attention.
From 2pm onwards, the Cornhill will be brought to life with a whole afternoon of fun and festivities, including a performance from the winner of the Ipswich Has Got Talent competition, Leah Godbold, as well as Funky Voices, Ipswich Hospital Community Choir, Cedarwood School Choir and De’Vide.
The preview performance by the Peter Pan pantomime cast will take place at 4.40pm, just before the Christmas lights are powered-up, and will include TV stars such as Art Attack presenter Lloyd Warbey as Peter Pan, Jenny Jones of CITV’s Hi-5’ as Wendy, CBeebies stars Andrew Crawford and Joe Chambers as Pirate Starkey and Pirate Noodler.
Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “The switch-on means Ipswich is well and truly ‘open for Christmas’. Late night Thursdays are supported by free park and ride and the existing roadworks will have been cleared, giving everyone a ‘cone free’ journey!”
Late night shopping will open for business on Thursday, November 21 and will run every Thursday until December 20, with most retailers opening later than usual for people to enjoy some Christmas shopping.
Carole Jones, of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “The ‘Quids-in’ campaign, offering car parking at only £1 after 3pm in Borough car parks, gives people a perfect opportunity to come and see the Christmas lights, enjoy the atmosphere and complete their festive shopping.”