Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor brought a sprinkling of stardust to Blackpool’s Golden Mile when she switched on the famous Blackpool Illuminations.

Sophie, one of the nation’s best-loved pop stars, performed a medley of her favourite songs including her classic hit, Murder On The Dancefloor, before pulling the switch to trigger a four-month Illuminations season.

She now joins a roll of honour of celebrity Switch-On stars down the years including the likes of Robbie Williams, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Shirley Bassey, Gary Barlow, The Bee Gees, Dame Barbara Windsor and Hollywood film director, Tim Burton.

Sophie told the thousands of people gathered on the Tower Festival Headland: “I’m so happy to be here. I remember coming here as a child and I can’t wait to see Blackpool all lit up”.

The Switch-On moment, the first to be held outdoors since 2019, marked the finale of a spectacular free event which included a Nickelodeon float parade, featuring the stars of the world’s favourite children’s TV channel, live entertainment, a light show on The Blackpool Tower and a fireworks finale.

Starting from Central Pier, the parade featured larger-than-life characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Baby Shark, Monsters High and Transformers, as well as around 100 dancers, musicians and street performers.

Among the performers in the grand parade were 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.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: ““We were determined to bring the Switch-On moment back outside and for it to be accessible for all our families, residents and visitors.

“It has been a fantastic evening and a true celebration of our amazing illuminations, What a way to mark the end of the school holidays and to kick-start our autumn season!

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 have created 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 and produced in collaboration with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

The team have also produced a new, illuminated BLACKPOOL selfie installation on the Promenade, which gives a nod to the famous HOLLYWOOD sign!




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