THE centre of Royal Wootton Bassett will sparkle tonight as the Christmas lights are switched on heralding an evening of festive fun.

Santa will be in residence in his grotto, George the Lion will be prowling the street and there will be almost 50 stalls selling everything from gin to tombola tickets during the evening organised by the town council.

Mayor Steve Bucknell is due to take the stage at 6pm with the winner of his Christmas card competition who will perform the official switch-on.

Ovation Dance Company and Wootton Bassett School of Dance will be entertaining the crowds alongside vocalists Bradley Cowtan and Jacob Vincent and local choir Cantanti.

Members of Wootton Bassett Light Operatic Society will also take the stage with support from the junior section of the group who are currently preparing for their awards concert at the Memorial Hall on Friday, December 8.

Scarrotts fun fair is providing children’s rides and sideshows and other entertainments include a fire eater and a circus workshop.

Face painters will be stationed at Maslin’s funeral parlour and the carnival royals will be in attendance.

Many of the shops are staying open late.

Hazel Newsom, from the town’s business association, said: “It has turned back into a real community event.”

She added: “It is Small Business Saturday the day after so it is perfect timing.”

The high street closes from 3pm today, until 10pm and the event runs until 8.30pm.