IT’S that time of the year when the festive season gets into full swing.

The countdown to Christmas will begin in grand style in Eastleigh on November 17.

The event will bring entertainment including the popular torchlight parade to the town centre, culminating in a firework display to start off the festive season with a bang.

Entertainment will kick off at 11am with live music and a mini-farm for children.

Youngsters will be able to visit Santa in his grotto while adults can enjoy a day of shopping across the town centre.

There will also be market stalls at the Sorting Office off the High Street.

Meanwhile, the light parade, featuring the Romsey Old Cadets Marching Band, Ocean Brass, jazz and pipe bands will begin at 5.15pm.

The switch-on of the lights, which are inspired by snowflakes and stars, will take place at 6pm from the bandstand at Leigh Road Recreation Ground, and will be followed by a firework display.

This year’s firework display is themed on the iconic Spitfire aircraft that was built locally and flew from Eastleigh’s aerodrome.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend this year’s event.

The initiative is organised and funded by the Eastleigh Local Area Committee (E-LAC) and the Eastleigh Business Improvement District (BID).

Cllr Paul Bicknell, chair of the E-LAC, said: “Our grand Eastleigh Christmas Lights Switch-On & Fun Day is a major highlight in the region’s pre-Christmas events calendar and is a great way to kick off the festive season.

“We work hard to create a really entertaining day out that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

“It gives us the chance to demonstrate how Eastleigh is a really great place to do your Christmas shopping. And don’t forget that the town centre has plenty of places to eat and drink, so why not enjoy the rest of your evening by stopping off in Eastleigh?”