By Mike Rawlins
Stoke City first team & management team will be guests of honour at the switch on of the Christmas lights in Hanley this year.
Tony Pulis said “It’s a great honour for the football club to be invited to turn on the Christmas lights. To see so many people turn out will be magnificent and shows what a fantastic city Stoke-on-Trent is. It’s the type of event that brings together all types of people and communities, and the football club is proud to be a part of something so special. “We see people cheering us on every week in the Premier League, but this is something different, something that puts us right at the heart of so many people’s lives at a special time of the year, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
The team will be joined in Fountain Square by Potters fan Nick Hancock, who will compare the evening to ensure everything goes smoothly. Nick said: “I love Christmas time and I love Stoke-on-Trent, so I am genuinely looking forward to this event, it will be great fun!”
A whole day’s entertainment is planned from 10am, with Stoke City’s double decker bus decking out the street with a mini football pitch, Table Tennis, Competitions and giveaways, along with mascots Pottermus and Pottermiss, and a chance to meet former heroes, first team and academy players during the day
At 3:30pm, the Pre-Count Down Stage Show starts in Fountain Square. Hosted by BBC Radio Stoke’s Tim Wedgwood, highlights include the Stoke-on-Trent Male Voice Choir and the City Music & Performing Arts Service.
Then, at 5:00pm, The Black Watch Marching band will lead the Christmas Lights Parade through the city centre, starting at the Victoria Hall. The band will take in Marsh Street, Piccadilly, Stafford Street and Lamb Street before sweeping down into Fountain Square. They will be leading mascots from Stoke City, Port Vale, Kier Stoke and Signal 1, dance groups and school pupils to fountain square, with Santa Claus bringing up the rear on his sleigh.
Taking part in the parade will be 60 children from the city’s lantern project, who will be designing a variety of large Christmas lanterns over the previous day that they will be carrying through the city centre on the night.
Then, the countdown show begins at 5:30pm, with special guests taking part in the event before the official switch on by the players at around 6:45pm.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Jean Bowers, will also be part of the lights’ switch on. She said: “There is plenty for everyone to enjoy at this year’s event. The Stoke City players bring a touch of Premier League class to the event and I’m sure it will be a huge success.”