THOUSANDS of people are expected to turn out in the town centre streets of Leek tomorrow (Friday) evening for this year's Christmas Lights Switch On Event.
Alike to past years there is set to be a range of activities on offer for all the family - courtesy of Leek Town Council's Events Committee.
The festivities will begin with the traditional Lantern Parade through the town centre streets of Leek at around 7pm to a stage area in the public realm area of Derby Street.
School children are, once again, being invited to take part in the parade which will be led by the Staffordshire Moorlands Youth Band, and also include Longton Scout Band, The Buxton Billerettes and Santa who will be on his sleigh pulled by two real life reindeer's.
The John Collins' Fair will be providing rides in High Street Car Park, and there will also be a Totally Locally Market taking place in the Market Place. A large number of charity and community stalls will also line Derby Street offering a range of festive-focused activities and games.
The Leek Post & Times reception in The Smithfield Centre, will once again, be turned into Santa's Grotto, where children will be able to meet the festive character from 7.30pm and also have their photograph taken with him.
The visit to Santa's Grotto at the Post & Times will also include a goody bag for youngsters containing a selection box and an Andrex Puppy cuddly toy. Proceeds from the £1.50 entry fee to see Santa in his Grotto at the Post & Times will go to the Leek Lions Club.
Many shops across the town will keep their doors open late on Friday, including those in Gettliffe's Yard, off Derby Street, where there will also be face painting, Tots Treats Stall, an arts and crafts table, and a visit from Santa.
On the main stage in Derby Street, following the singing of carols accompanied by the Salvation Army Band from 7pm, the actual switching on of the town centre illuminations is set to be carried out by this year's Leek Town Mayor councillor John Fisher, with the help of a number of local children, at around 7.20pm.
This will be followed by live music and entertainment from the the Leek-based Young Phoenix, Biddulph band Wickenstones, as well as local talented act Dominic 'Chuck Berry' Cooper and Combo.
Trinity Church in Derby Street will be hosting a fund-raising Christmas Market event during the evening which will also continue on Saturday.
After the switching on of the lights, Santa and his reindeer will make his way round to the Smithfield Centre, off Haywood Street, where he will welcome visitors into his special Grotto at the offices of the Leek Post & Times, while his reindeer will be in the Smithfield precinct for children to have a look at while waiting to see Santa.
Parents will be able to take photographs of their youngsters with the reindeer in return for a contribution to the Mayor’s Charity Fund.