It's beginning to look a lot like... Christmas Lights!

Join us on Thursday 15 November when everywhere you go in the High Street will be filled with Christmas entertainment for all the family from 12 noon until late at the annual Christmas Lights Switch-on event from Guildford Borough Council and Experience Guildford, supported by 96.4 Eagle Radio.

The lights are switched on at 7pm, followed by a grand firework finale, kindly sponsored by White Lion Walk.

We have all of your favourites, including Santa's reindeer and unicorns, live music playing all afternoon at the Experience Guildford stage and Guildford Fringe Buskers' Corner and don't miss the mascot parade. The Guildhall balcony show begins at 6pm, hosted by Eagle Radio's Peter Gordon. He will be joined by local sports stars and the cast of the Yvonne Arnaud pantomime, including actress and singer Michelle Gayle.

Cllr Mike Parsons, Mayor of Guildford, says: "This wonderful community event marks the start of the town's countdown to Christmas. Please join us as we illuminate our historic High Street and provide the opportunity for all ages to come together and celebrate the start of the festive season. A huge thank you to all of our partners and visitors who make this occasion so special every year."

He explains: "This year we have also provided some dedicated quiet spaces for those who prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of the High Street. You'll find these at Skipton Building Society on the High Street, and Cosy Club in Tunsgate Quarter. Staff will be on hand to calm and reassure visitors."

Amanda Masters, Chief Executive at Experience Guildford, says: "Guildford is excitedly building up to what promises to be the start of another cracking Christmas. As ever, the lights switch-on marks the start of the festive retail calendar and the beginning of late night shopping. We've introduced new lights at the top of the High Street to extend footfall throughout the town, have an enhanced retail and leisure mix to draw visitors from further afield and increase dwell time, plus our work with organisations, such as GEEYOU, has helped make our town more accessible and inviting to all sectors of the local community. Thanks go to all the partners involved with getting this year's celebrations off the ground, and here's to a very prosperous festive season for all."

She adds: "New for 2018, we have a prize draw for everyone to get involved with. Simply find our Experience Guildford Christmas Elves (you'll spot them from their costumes dashing around from 3pm to 8pm), snap a selfie with them and share it on Social Media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) with the tag: #ElfieSelfie and #GuildfordLights to be entered in to a prize draw to win a family ticket to this year's Yvonne Arnaud pantomime, Cinderella." (Please note that the prize draw is for a family ticket for four, to watch Cinderella on Wednesday 2 January at 5.30pm. The tickets are non-transferable. Winners will be contacted on Monday 19 November via social media.)

Programme for the day

12pm - 6pm Say hello to some of Santa's reindeer on the Rotunda
3pm - 5pm See real-life Unicorns from My Little Unicorn outside Debenhams or trotting up the High Street
3pm - 8pm Find the EG Elves around town and get your #ElfieSelfie
4pm Experience Guildford Stage opens outside Holy Trinity Church
4pm Rock Choir
4.30pm Babama House Duo
5pm Emma Stevens
5.30pm Nefarious Picaroons
4pm Catch even more live music at Guildford Fringe Buskers' Corner by the Scholar Statue. Including Majella Yorston, Performance Preparation Academy and various local choirs
4.30pm onwards music and entertainment inside Tunsgate Quarter Shopping Centre provided by Guildford Fringe
5pm Join the Mascot Parade up the High Street, starting from White Lion Walk. Led by Guildford and Godalming Rock Choir

The Main Event:
6pm Countdown to the switch on with the balcony show from the Guildhall, with Eagle Radio's Peter Gordon and the stars of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre panto, Cinderella
7pm The Christmas Lights will be switched on, followed by a dazzling fireworks display, sponsored by White Lion Walk Shopping Centre

The Balcony Show will also be broadcast to two big screens, opposite Marks and Spencer and above the Experience Guildford Stage, so even more people can get a really good view.

And to close the evening:
7.15pm Boogie the evening away with Latitude (ACM House Band)
at the EG Stage
7.15pm There will be choirs performing at Guildford Fringe Buskers' Corner, Tunsgate Quarter Shopping Centre, Tunsgate Road, Market Street and on The Rotunda.

(All information correct at time of publication and is subject to change).

Published on Friday 2 November.