Newport city centre will start the countdown to Christmas with a spectacular event packed with fun for all the family on Saturday, November 18.
Running from 3pm to 5.15pm, Countdown to Christmas will feature live music, fairground rides and celebrity guests, culminating in the official switching on of Newport’s city centre Christmas lights and a breath-taking fireworks display.
Organised by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk and Newport City Radio, Countdown to Christmas will mirror the BID’s hugely-successful previous events with the main stage based at the junction of Charles Street and Commercial Street.
Last year’s event attracted more than 7,000 additional people into the city centre compared with an average Saturday.
Musical acts will be on stage during the day, and a special guest will be helping the city’s mayor Councillor Trevor Watkins push the button to light up the city centre for the festive season.
There will be fairground rides along the riverfront, and the event will culminate with the Christmas lights switch-on at 5pm followed by the fireworks display at 5.15pm.
Newport Now BID chairman Zep Bellavia said: “We are proud and excited to be delivering our eighth annual Countdown to Christmas event to launch the festive trading period in the city centre.
“We are sure this year will prove just as popular as previous events and, as usual, there will be a fantastic family feel to the day.
“The BID represents more than 600 businesses in the city centre. The majority of them are small independents and we hope the people of Newport and the surrounding area will support them during the Christmas shopping season.”
Councillor Jane Mudd, leader of Newport City Council, said: “Countdown to Christmas is always a very special occasion for the city and attracts thousands of people to the city centre.
“We are very grateful to our partners, especially the Newport Now Business Improvement District, for organising such a fantastic, feel-good event. It’s the perfect start to the festive season.
“I would urge people to ‘shop local, not just for Christmas but all year round. Newport has fantastic retailers and hospitality outlets many of which are independent, small enterprises. All need your custom and support to ensure they can continue offering their services and employing local people.”
Friars Walk centre director Simon Pullen said: “We are thrilled to be part of the Countdown to Christmas event in Newport, as it symbolises the official launch of the festive season and infuses the city centre with an incredible energy.
“As proud sponsors, we are excited to contribute to the event by supporting the spectacular fireworks display, which is sure to delight residents and visitors alike.”
Newport City Radio managing director Ian Lamsdale said: “We say that we're with you at the biggest events across the city and this is the one. As always we've got the best new local talent for you, this year in the shape of The Rogues, a brilliant Newport band.
“Then we'll need you to make some noise with us and some amazing guests, as we build up to the best moment of 2023 – the Christmas lights switch-on. What a way to wrap up our 15th year as your community radio service!”
More details about the event – including the special celebrity guest and other musical performers – will be revealed over the next few weeks