CROWDS are expected to pack into the centre of Thorpe Bay for the annual winter extravaganza this weekend.

The event is a celebration of local businesses and what they have to offer and will feature performances of dancing and music, as well as stalls and refreshments.

Southend United footballer Adam Barrett and Southend mayor Andrew Moring will be present, while children will be able to enjoy a Santa’s Grotto and rides from 7pm until 9pm on Saturday. 

Last year, more than 900 people attended and this year Southend-based JADA Theatre School will be performing some of their dance routines, while live music will be provided by the Southend Bach Choir and the Salvation Army band.

Thorpe Bay Rotary Club is organising the extravaganza, along with the Thorpe Bay Broadway Business Association, with two objectives to promote the rotary club’s work and the importance of local shops in giving town centres character.

Rotarian Loretta Andrews said she hoped the wind and rain would stay away, which would increase the chances of drawing in a good crowd.

She added: “Hopefully, we will beat last year’s total for the number of visitors, but these things are so weather dependent. We have got an inflatable arch to protect from the rain, but if it is too windy we will not be able to put it up. As long as it does not rain, it should be alright.”

The extravaganza will be taking place in the Broadway and shops in the road will be opening late as people start doing their Christmas shopping.

Hairdressers will be offering hair braiding services, while anyone who has lost a loved one will be able to light a candle in their memory at undertakers in Broadway.

Local people will also be holding stalls in the street, while there will be a hog roast, donut stall and fish and chips available.

This year’s event will raise money for Southend Cystic Fibrosis Association and Southend Blind Welfare Organisation.