Stockton Sparkles is back for another year, and it’s bigger and better than ever! The festive festival will run from Thursday, November 23 to Sunday, December 3, and will feature a variety of events and activities for all ages to enjoy.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “It’s always so exciting when Stockton Sparkles arrives – and once again there will be something for the whole family to enjoy in the run-up to Christmas.”
Here’s everything you need to know about Stockton Sparkles 2023:
Stockton Sparkles Launch: Christmas Light Switch On
The festival will kick off with a launch event on Thursday, November 23, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on Stockton High Street. The event will feature live music, performances, and the official turning on of the Christmas lights. This event takes place four days after the Middlesbrough Christmas Lights Switch On, making it a great opportunity to extend the festive cheer across the Tees Valley.
Popular BBC Tees present Gary Phillipson and Dan Westwood, along with Santa will be hosting the event. There will also be appearances from the ever-popular Singing Christmas Tree made up from the 50-strong community choir, ‘Stockton Sings’, accompanied by Loud Noises and Apollo House Band ft. Marina Gears. Those at the event will also be treated to an appearance from Santa’s Elves and Street theatre performers will also keep the audience entertained.
The official turning on of the Christmas lights will take place at 6:30pm with The Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Jim Beall turning them on, and is sure to be a magical moment for all involved. So come along and join in the fun as Stockton Sparkles gets underway for another year!
Stockton Sparkles Victorian Christmas Fair
The Victorian Christmas Fair will run from Thursday, November 23 to Sunday, November 26, on Stockton High Street.
The fair will feature a free 50ft Ferris wheel and carousel. There will aos be two wooden cabins with free activities such as face painting on Saturday and Sunday.
It will be open from 10am – 8pm on the launch night, and 10am – 5pm on the Friday & Saturday, closing at 4pm on the Sunday.
Stockton Sparkles Christmas Market
The Christmas Market will run from Thursday, November 30 to Sunday, December 3, on Stockton High Street. The market will feature 22 festive cabins with a variety of stalls selling festive food and drink, gifts, and crafts.
There will also be plenty of food and drink on offer including pizza, cookies, pies and more!
The market is open 10am – 4pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is open 11am – 5pm on Sunday.
Stockton Sparkles Lantern Parade
The ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ themed Stockton Sparkles Lantern Parade will take place on Sunday, December 3, at 4:00pm. Be mesmerized by the spectacle of glowing lanterns transforming Stockton High Street into a winter wonderland.
Join Santa and his cheerful elves as they lead a procession down the street, accompanied by enthusiastic members of local schools and community groups. Witness a captivating display of illuminated lanterns, captivating street theatre, enchanting Christmas music, and an energetic live band performance from Apollo. Free glitter painting will be available from the Sparkle Scene
Stockton Sparkles Festive Tipi
The festive Tipi is back at Stockton Sparkles this year, providing a warm and inviting place to enjoy food and drinks. There will also be a program of free activities for families throughout the weekend.
Stories with Santa will take place on Thursday (November 30) and Friday (December 1), with a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter present. Tickets are required and can be obtained from the Enjoy Stockton-on-Tees shop starting November 20.
On Saturday (December 2), New Leaf will host mini candle pot workshops at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. These workshops are ticketed and have a limited number of spaces. Tickets will be available from the Enjoy Stockton-on-Tees shop starting November 20.
Drop-in Christmas card making workshops with Dawn Evans and Letters to Santa with PEG Creations will be held on Sunday (December 3). No tickets are required for these workshops.
Getting to Stockton Sparkles
Stockton Sparkles is easy to get to by public transport or by car.
By public transport, there are regular bus services to Stockton-on-Tees town centre, and Trains to Thornaby Station which is a short walk away from the town centre via Bridge Road.
If you are driving to Stockton Town Centre, you can access the town centre from the A135, the A1046, or the A177. The town centre is also signposted from the A66.
Parking in Stockton Town Centre
Stockton Town Centre has a number of car parks and on-street parking bays that are open and available to use in the evenings. The following are some of the most convenient options:
- Wellington Square Car Park: This car park is located in the heart of the town centre, next to the Stockton Globe and the High Street. It is free to park after 5pm, making it a popular choice for evening events. Postcode: TS18 1LE
- Riverside Car Park: This car park is located on Riverside Road. It is also free to park after 5pm. Postcode: TS18 1LB
On-street parking bays:
- Dovecot Street: This street is located in the heart of the town centre, close to the Wellington Square Car Park. It offers two hours of free parking after 5pm. Postcode: TS18 1LJ
In addition to these options, there are also a number of other on-street parking bays in the town centre that offer two hours of free parking after 5pm. These bays can be found on streets such as Skinner Street, Lawson Street, and Farrer Street.