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Abba act to launch Christmas lights

Gosport's festive season will get under way with an Abba-tastic show to celebrate the switching on of the town's Christmas lights.

The free Gosport Borough Council event, on Saturday 24 November, will feature tribute act Abba Rival, activities for children, and the return of the town's lantern parade.

The fun starts in Lawrence Square at 9am, with attractions including food and drink stalls, a children’s ride, a tombola, crafted Christmas gifts and free make-your-own cards and decorations, plus free face-painting from 1pm to 5pm.

Wave 105’s breakfast show presenter Rick Jackson will compere the big switch-on event from 3pm. The theme for this year is a good old Christmas singalong, with local choirs and other stage entertainment.

The switch-on will be at 5pm. Stars from the New Theatre Royal’s Christmas show, Peter Pan, will do the honours along with Rick and the Mayor of Gosport, Cllr Diane Furlong.

Fireworks will be part of the celebrations, and as usual will be virtually silent, without loud bangs.

The lantern parade returns this year, organised by Asda and the Gosportarians, working with the council. The parade will assemble at Timespace at 4pm, ready to walk down the High Street towards the switch-on ceremony stage. To find out more about taking part, residents can contact community_gosport@asda.co.uk or see the Gosportarians Facebook page.

Lee-on-the-Solent's lights switch-on will be in the High Street on Friday 30 November. A French market will run from 9am until late, with reindeer, petting zoo, Santa’s grotto and fun rides for children. The lights will be switched on by the Mayor at 6.30pm, followed by a carol service around the tree. Local school choirs will sing carols, with music from Gosport Solent Brass. Many shops will be open late.

Other events in Gosport include a children's Christmas trail during November and December and a living nativity scene in Lawrence Square on 22 December from 10am to 4pm.

Cllr Stephen Philpott, Chairman of the Economic Development Board at the council, said: "There's a huge number of events for all the family happening in the borough. It's great to see community groups and local businesses working with us to help get everyone in a festive mood."

Residents can get more details of festive events in the borough online or by picking up the council's Christmas in Gosport leaflet, available from the Town Hall, Discovery Centre and Tourist Information Centre plus many other community venues.

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