Blackpool is getting ready for the last hurrah of the summer with a spectacular celebration on the Golden Mile.

The night of Friday 1 September marks Illuminations Switch-On – the biggest event in the resort’s calendar.

This year sees a dazzling programme of free entertainment which will start with a colourful float parade featuring the stars of Nickelodeon, the world’s favourite children’s TV channel.

Starting from Central Pier, the parade will feature larger-than-life characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Baby Shark, Monsters High and Transformers.

They will be joined by around 100 dancers, musicians and street performers as they make their way to the Tower Festival Headland for a free family party including live music and entertainment leading up to the special moment when singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor will perform some of her favourite tracks before pulling the switch. That will trigger four months of Illuminations along the entire seafront.

The Switch-On moment will be followed by a specially-commissioned Nickelodeon sound and light show on The Blackpool Tower that will be synchronised with LED wristbands to be given out to spectators, and then topped off with a fireworks finale.

The whole event will be free to access with no tickets required. Free wristbands will be available from a marquee located on the Tower Festival Headland and from the nearby Tourist Information Centre from 6pm on the day. Some will also be given out along the parade route.

The build-up will commence from 7pm, with the float parade scheduled to start around 7.30pm. The main celebrations on the Tower Festival Headland will take place between approximately 8pm and 9.30pm (Note: Times could be subject to change so check for updates on the website).

Among the performers in the grand parade will be Lancashire’s own 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band, a hugely talented group of young musicians who have performed all over the UK, including an appearance at Windsor Castle in front of the Queen.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor, one of the UK’s best loved music stars, will be in Blackpool fresh from her appearance on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage and on the back of the release of her brand new studio album.

Sophie shot to fame as a vocalist on Spiller's huge number one single, Groovejet and her worldwide hit, Murder On The Dancefloor. Her debut solo album, Read My Lips, sold more than two million copies. She has since released seven studio albums, including her latest, HANA, which has already charted in the top 10 and enjoyed more than a million streams within weeks of its release.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This will be a wonderful way to mark the end of the school summer holidays and to mark the start of our extended autumn Illuminations season.

“The Switch-On ceremony has always had a very special place in the Blackpool events calendar and this year promises to be a glorious night of free family entertainment.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Illuminations would once again be extended by two months, running nightly until January 1, 2024. Following the launch of the giant Odyssey installation during 2022, the Illuminations manufacturing team are working on three brand new, large-scale light installations for the coming season, two of them designed by internationally-renowned artists, the other a tribute to the iconic Spitfire aircraft.




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