Sunderland Illuminations is to shine again

Dated: 27/09/2015 The Sunderland Illuminations switch-on at Cliffe Park lighthouse, which was done by Lauren Laverne and festival favourites the Spark Drummers. #NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia
The Sunderland Illuminations switch-on at Cliffe Park in 2015 #NorthNewsAndPictures

Sunderland Illuminations will light the seafront once again this autumn.

Starting at the end of September, this year’s programme has been extended to end with a bang on Bonfire Night.

Organisers promises the Illuminations will be brighter than ever in 2016, featuring new installations of pirates, dinosaurs and fairies.

Last year around 300,000 visitors from across the region came to enjoy the celebration of light.

An entrance fee for Roker Park has been introduced for the first time; it costs £1 for adults and free for children aged 2 and below.

John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture said:

“Last year’s Illuminations was fantastic.

“We want to keep running the event for as long as possible, but simply can’t afford to do that from our own funds.

“We hope people will appreciate the reasons for introducing this very small charge, and be reassured that every penny will go back into the pot for running the event in years to come.”

This time the Illuminations will feature more activities along the seafront, including the return of the big wheel that was particularly popular among the visitors last year.

Tom Parkin, a spokesperson for the Seafront Traders Association said:

“The plans are coming together nicely for the illuminations this year, and we’re all looking forward to it.

“Given the council’s budget position and cuts, it’s understandable that it needs to look at alternative ways to keep this event running, for both the local economy and the enjoyment of local residents. The £1 charge for entry to Roker Park seems very reasonable, considering the amount of things that will be in there to see and do.”

The lights will be switched on from 23 September to 5 November.

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