Eastgate's Winter Wonderland Party & Basildon's Switch-On

Celebrate the countdown to Christmas in Basildon on Saturday 18 November.

Families and shoppers are invited to Eastgate’s Christmas launch on Saturday 18 November when Santa comes to town.

There will be lots of fantastic festive entertainment with a Winter Wonderland theme including a Snow Lion, a pair of inflatable snowmen, Snow Queen and Ice Maiden on stilts and ice princesses.

The fun will start at noon when Santa arrives to open his Christmas grotto to the festive tunes of Sutherland Pipes and Drums. Excited youngsters can meet Mr Claus on the first floor and get their requests on his present list.

Creature Encounter’s stunning Snow Lion and the Red Queen will make three memorable appearances. The magical characters combine animatronic puppetry, spectacular costumes and music to great effect.

An illuminated festive faerie will perform on top of the Christmas tree outside Ernest Jones. Sitting in a hoop above the tree she will wish shoppers Christmas cheer in this beautiful aerial act. She will be joined by a cheeky elf with his postbox ready for children’s present requests.

Santa’s Big Helpers Horace and Borace – two giant elves on bouncy stilts – will jump around Eastgate directing youngsters to Santa’s grotto. They will be joined by two bouncing inflatable snowmen.

There will be amazing liquid crystal juggling from the talented Matt Hemman.

Mr Scrooge and Mr Scratchit and their musical carriage will entertain shoppers with their renditions of festive favourites from Wham!, East 17 and Mariah Carey.

Eastgate centre manager Ian Clark said: “We are gearing up to a busy Christmas launch with lots of fantastic entertainment for shoppers of all ages.”

Eastgate’s celebrations dovetail with Basildon’s Christmas Lights Switch On which take place in the town square at 5pm. Basildon Market has sponsored an ice rink that will be open daily until Christmas Eve with FREE ENTRY.