THE date Newport will begin the countdown to Christmas has been revealed.

The city’s Christmas lights will be switched on in a live event on Saturday, November 27.

Last year’s Countdown to Christmas event had to be held online due to Covid-19 restrictions, but this year the event – organised by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk and Newport City Radio – will be live and in-person.

Running from 3pm to 5.15pm, the event will feature live music, fairground rides and celebrity guests, culminating in the official switching on of Newport’s city centre Christmas lights and a fireworks display.

As in previous years, the main stage will be set up at the junction of Charles Street and Commercial Street, where big-name musical guests will perform, before a special celebrity guest – whose identity remains a closely-guarded secret – will join mayor Cllr David Williams to light up the city centre.

There will be fairground rides along the riverfront and Commercial Street, and the event will culminate with the Christmas lights switch-on at 5pm followed by the fireworks display at 5.15pm.

Newport Now BID chairman Zep Bellavia said: “Our Saturday Countdown to Christmas events have been hugely successful, with thousands of people enjoying the day, and we’re so pleased to be able to offer some real joy to the businesses and people of Newport after such a challenging 18 months.

“We had no choice last year but to stage the event as an online livestream and although more than 13,000 people watched the show, it just wasn’t the same as being live on the streets of the city centre.

“We are sure families from across Newport and beyond will again visit the city centre for what promises to be a fantastic event packed with surprises.”

Cllr Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “I am pleased that we will be able to come together in person for the Christmas lights switch-on at this year’s Countdown to Christmas event.

“Newport Now has planned another exciting Christmas countdown, and I am looking forward to celebrating with everyone next month.

“As we prepare for the festive period, I’d encourage everyone to buy local and support our shops, hospitality venues and other businesses who are the lifeblood of our community.

“It is also important that we still follow local and national guidelines around Covid to keep our families, friends and communities safe this festive period.

“Together, we can make this a Christmas to remember for Newport.”

Friars Walk centre director, Simon Pullen, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the city centre lights switch-on and hope that everyone enjoys the entertainment on offer, as well as the spectacular fireworks display, which we are proud to sponsor.”

More details about the event will be revealed over the next few weeks.