A FESTIVE event is taking place this weekend to celebrate the opening of a long-awaited public space in Dovercourt.

The Christmas Lights Switch On event will be held on Saturday from 3.30pm to 8.30pm.

It is marking the opening of Orwell Place, the new 51-space car park built in the site of the former Starlings garage and Queens Head Hotel, which burned down a number of years ago.

The design was planned to allow for the site to be used as an event space, providing capacity in the town centre for one-off events such as a Christmas market or travelling fair.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Festivities - Guests enjoying the atmosphere at a previous eventFestivities - Guests enjoying the atmosphere at a previous event (Image: Submitted)

As such, the main event is taking place in Orwell Place and the High Street, with different activities to be held.

There will be a craft fayre in the Community Hub and shops opening later from the top of the hill downwards in the High Street and also in Kingsway. 

In addition, Harwich Town Council has funded a 20ft Christmas tree, which is situated in Orwell Place.

The switch-on of the street lights and the Christmas tree lights is planned for 6.30pm with the town mayor Maria Fowler, councillor Ivan Henderson and the young winners of the Guy Carnival selfie competition switching on the lights.

Harwich town crier Richard Bench will be there alongside various stalls, games, rides, attractions and a bar.

The Factory Shop is also hosting Santa's grotto.

A line-up of performers will take to the stage, including dancers from CC Dance Studio and Swann School of Dance, as well as live music with the Ukulele Band.

Singers Nikki Evans and Matt Bridges are also involved, as are the band Elephant Jane.

This event is supported by Dovercourt Street Market and partly funded by the UK Government via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Harwich Connexions will be running buses on Saturday from 2pm to 7pm to bring people to the Harwich Hub's Christmas Fayre and the Christmas Light switch on event.

These buses must be pre-booked.

A spokesman for the event said: "The Dovercourt Christmas Light Switch On which also this year marks the opening of Orwell Place demonstrates that small groups within the community working together can make a big impact to the town.

"An event with a fantastic schedule of local talent, a large selection of local businesses, makers, entertainment and attractions available throughout the evening.

"There will be something for everyone."