EASTLEIGH'S Christmas light switch on is to return in style as thousands of people are set to sweep the high street today.

The annual initiation to the countdown to Christmas is one of the borough's biggest events, with a whole selection of free activities and spectacles that will keep children in awe until the night comes to a close.

Entertainment will be provided throughout the day including the popular Christmas lights parade through the town centre, culminating in a firework display at the Eastleigh bandstand to start off the festive season with a bang.

Emily Reason, Marketing Coordinator at Eastleigh BID said: "This is Eastleigh's biggest event by a longshot, it's been going for so long and we are expecting thousands of people to attend throughout the day."

The event kicks off at 11am with live music, face painting, a mini mobile farm and an inflatable bowling alley provided by Hollywood Bowl.

Children can also enjoy a visit to Santa's Grotto at Eastleigh Museum for £3, while adults can begin their Christmas shopping across the town centre and the variety of local market stalls spread out across the high street.

At 5.15pm as the sky gets darker, the light parade will be led through the streets by Santa Claus, before finishing at the bandstand where the Christmas lights will be switched on, followed by the firework display to round off the festive evening.

It's not just residents getting excited for the event, as over 30 businesses are getting involved throughout the day by putting on Christmas themed shop window displays.

This is then judged by Eastleigh's Mayor, Cllr Darshan Mann, with the winner receiving £50 towards their staff Christmas party this year.

Councillor Paul Bicknell, Chair of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee said: “The teams from the Council and the BID work hard to support town centre businesses by delivering a successful Christmas Lights Switch-On & Fun Day which is now firmly established in our annual calendar as a great way to start the countdown to the big day – and it is hugely popular with families from across the Borough and further afield."