| 2.8°C Belfast

It's Santa, Sonya and samba on stilts!

Cool FM's Sonya Mac will join Santa and a samba band on stilts for the Christmas lights switch-on celebrations in Newtownards this Friday, November 30.

The samba band will lead Santa and the Mayor of Ards in an open top vintage car, ahead of 300 school children carrying lanterns which they created as part of a Council-led arts project.

The colourful lantern parade will make its way to a specially built stage in Conway Square where the Mayor will switch on the Christmas tree lights.

Entertainment at Conway Square includes Sonya Mac (pictured) and the Cool FM Roadshow, Impact, a pop band from Newtownards, circus performers, characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory panto and the Lauraldale Brass Band from Comber.

The festivities will start at 6.45pm when the lantern parade leaves Ards Arena in South Street for its journey to Conway Square, and continue until 8pm. Shoppers can also enjoy some late-night shopping in some of the town's most popular stores, making use of the offers in the 2012 discount voucher booklet.