THIS year’s Magical Middlesbrough Christmas lights switch-on, sponsored by the Cleveland Centre, will see Santa joined by Boro stars.

The big event in Middlesbrough’s Centre Square will begin from 5pm on Thursday, November 23 with the opening of the Christmas Markets and fairground.

Entertainment on the stage will begin at 6pm with performances from MTH Community Choir and Serinette followed by the hugely popular and visually stunning Flame Oz.

The event will be compered by Heart FM’s Tom Campbell who will be joined on stage by Boro players and the Police Interceptors.

The grand finale will see the skies above Centre Square light up with a festive firework display.

Boro favourites Ben Gibson and George Friend stated have already shared their excitement in a video posted online.

Ben said: “Come along and see me and the lads switch on the Christmas Lights.” George adds: “On the 23rdNovember at Centre Square – see you then, Up the Boro.”

The traditional festive fairground will include a traditional helter skelter, ferris wheel, swing carousel, hook-a-duck, tin can alley, bottle bowling and more, while the Christmas markets will include gift stalls, seasonal food and drink and a traditional Bavarian bar.

Thursday will also see the opening of Santa’s Grotto in Centre Square – complete with bubbling chimney and a traditional gift for every child, costing £6.50 each. Booking is advisable at www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/grotto.

Cleveland Centre manager Graeme Skillen said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Middlesbrough’s Christmas lights switch-on for the fourth year running. It’s a great event that highlights that is great about Middlesbrough and we are proud to be associated with it once more as part of our programme of working with the local community.”

Cllr Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough’s Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for City Centre Strategy, said: “Our Magical Middlesbrough Christmas is going to be even more special this year with the addition of the markets and the fairground to Centre Square.

“We are grateful to the Cleveland Centre for their sponsorship and continued support of the event and hope to see as many people as possible out for the big switch-on.”