CROWDS of more than 20,000 people are expected to flock to the all day Billericay Christmas Market this weekend, for for a feast of entertainment around shops and more than 100 stalls.

It all takes place on Sunday, December 3.

In a "programme aimed to suit all tastes", the organisers, Billericay Mayflower Rotarians, will be packing two stages with a variety of music and dance.

The stages are situated at separate vantage points on a High Street free of traffic for the day.

Traditional entertainment will feature on a stage opposite Barclays Bank while a second stage near the Red Lion will feature modern live music.

Once Santa has settled into his ornate grotto after the 11am parade which will launch the Market, the two-stage shows begin. Long time favourites in the town, Billericay Operatic Society, will begin one show with songs from their repertoire, while South Essex blues and rock band Bare Wire will launch the other.

Laura Davidson has been praised as being a “singing sensation” in the style of superstar Adele. She will appear in a group with Kenny Butler, a star in the celebrated British group the Rubettes.

The best of traditional and modern pop music created in Essex will also feature including Fusion Actz from Basildon, a dance and drama school that has been a stepping stone to the best in show business. It will be their fourth appearance at the market.

Leigh the Rock Choir will be in fine voice demonstrating their watchword of “singing their way to friendship, fun and laughter.”

Others in the traditional entertainment package include Rainy Hall, while the modern live music stage will feature Republic, Carousel and Easy Tiger.

Locally renowned Cockney Treble, a lively 50s and 60s rock and roll covers band, will bring the show to a close with their happy music style that has proved popular at a whole series of events in the town in the past.

The shows will provide a background to an amazing success story that has mushroomed in a few short years from a three hour evening of Christmas shopping to a major six-hour daytime event attracting thousands.

A continental food market and stalls providing food of every description will feature alongside craft stalls, charity outlets, original gift ideas, street entertainers, a youngsters’ fairground and donkey rides.

Billericay Mayflower Rotarians, whose efforts are boosted by colleagues from other Rotary clubs plus a variety of local service organisation, have pledged again that any surplus money raised by staging the event will go to charity.

Event organiser David Randall said: “A great deal of hard work goes into ensuring the market is a success and in this our main sponsors, Paul Robinson, Ground Control, Para Bar Muir and Burstead Golf Club play an invaluable role.”

It all takes place from 11am until 5pm.