Over 60,000 flock to illuminations in opening week

Over 60,000 flock to illuminations in opening week

Over 60,000 people have visited Sunderland Illuminations in the first week of the event.

Visitors to Roker and Seaburn seafront have enjoyed new displays and family entertainment in Roker Park, as well as seeing the return of the illuminated observation wheel at Cliffe Park.

The event launched in spectacular style on Saturday 24 September with a show hosted by Ian and Dannii from the Sun FM breakfast show.

It featured drumming and lighting sensations Spark! Drummers, performances from St Anthony’s school choir and local singer Chloe Castro who appeared on BBCs The Voice. The Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Alan Emerson was joined by Sunderland AFC legends Kevin Ball and Jimmy Montgomery to switch on the lights.

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture Councillor John Kelly said:” It is fantastic to see so many people there having such a good time. The event runs for six weeks and has a wide range of attractions and activities with something for everyone.

"By working with business partners, organisations, and sponsors each year we work to find new and innovative ways of developing this fantastic event. This year is no exception and I hope people make the most of the stunning location and come back many times to appreciate our beautiful coastline and its dazzling lighting displays.”

This year's event will see all of Roker Park being used for a whole host of new and exciting features, including pirates, dinosaurs and fairies, as well as old favourites including the Sunderland Tap and a Sea of Stars on the lake. Children can take on the role of a pirate, ride on the shuggy boats and take a trip to Treasure Island which leads to the lost island of dinosaurs. There’s a pirate adventure golf course, illuminated arts and lots of other exciting activities to keep the whole family entertained.

SAFC legend, Kevin Ball who helped launch the event said: “This amazing spectacle is something the city and the region should be proud of.

“I enjoy taking the opportunity to tell the people I meet how fantastic the city is. When you think of the Sunderland Airshow, Illuminations, Keel Square, Concerts at the Stadium of Light, award winning seafront, the bid for City of Culture 2021 and of course the Tall Ships Races in 2018 people can see what a great place Sunderland is.”

The lights are on 5-10pm every evening, with last entry into Roker Park at 9pm.
To help ensure that the event will continue to grow and develop a small entrance fee of £1 for Roker Park has been introduced for the first time this year (children aged 2 and under are free)

Tickets can be bought from: City Library (Fawcett Street), Bunnyhill Customer Service Centre, Washington Town Centre library, Houghton Library, Sandhill Customer Service Centre and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.
Tickets are also available from booths on Cliffe Park, Bede’s Cross and Marine Walk from 5pm every day during the event.

Cllr Kelly added: “We’re still encouraging people to buy tickets in advance, to save queuing on the night, and also encouraging use of the park and ride service on a weekend too. It’s free for those using St Mary’s or Sunniside multi-storey car parks, and picks up and drops off in Keel Square.”

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Blockbuster West End shows are staged at the Sunderland Empire, the biggest theatre between Edinbugh and Manchester.

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