BASILDON will launch its Christmas festival of fun with a day of activities for all the family.

The town will enjoy a six-week run up to the big day, starting on November 16.

There will be a range of entertainment at a number of venues, including Basildon Market Santa’s Grotto from 10am, an open-air ice rink officially opened by St Luke’s Choir in the town square at 10am, entertainment on the main stage presented by Gateway 97.8 from 3.30pm until 6pm and a firework display finale from 6pm.

Chairman of Basildon Council’s neighbourhoods and public spaces committee, David Harrison, said: “It’s going to be a fantastic day full of festive fun and a time to explore what Basildon has to offer.

“There’s something for everyone.

“It’s not every day that you get all of these activities in one place. Basildon at Christmas signals the start of the festive season and promises to be a day to remember.”

Traders and residents have welcomed the plans for the launch of the festive season.

Barry Humpreys, 50, who runs a clothing stall on the market said it’ll be great for business.

He said: “As traders, we all look forward to the Christmas launch event each year, it’s a great chance to boost our trade towards the end of the year.

“This year’s plans sound great and I am sure it’ll draw plenty of people into the town centre, which is also needed and beneficial.

“These events are always so popular and as market traders we expect to see a big boost to our business and takings.

“It is a great benefit to us that the council holds the event and helps to bring some much-needed joy to a big of a miserable time of year in terms of weather and trade for us.”

Residents said they are very exciting for another bumper launch for Christmas.

Linda Browne, 51, of Waldegrave, Basildon said she and her grandchildren always look forward to the start of Christmas in the town.

She said: “I think this all sounds wonderful - my grandchildren will be first in line for the open-air ice rink - no doubt.

“The hospice choir will be a nice touch on the day and I know Gateway radio will be excellent hosts for the main stage.”

“I am sure it will be a very well attended event and will see the town centre buzzing full of the Christmas spirit - I am sure it’ll be a great day to remember.”