With two months to go until Christmas, Braintree Council has announced the date of its Christmas light switch on event.

Celebrations start on November 17, when Radio Essex will be hosting the annual switch-on event, including live entertainment from artists, dance groups, a school choir as well as fun activities for youngsters.

The entertainment will begin in Market Place at 12pm until 5.45pm, with the switch on at 5.30pm by presenters Chris and Abbie.

George Yard Shopping Centre switch on will be just before at 5pm, along with a Santa’s Grotto throughout the day.

A parade will take place between both light switch on events across the town.

Councillor Tom Cunningham, responsible for economic development at Braintree Council, said: “Christmas is a very special time of year and I’m pleased we are kicking off the festive season with these fantastic events.

“It’s a great day out for families to explore our Christmas street market with a variety of gourmet food, drink, gifts and craft activities for the kids.

“They will also be treated to a varied line up of local talent in the build up to the lights being switched on.

“We hope to see many residents and visitors come to join Braintree’s festive celebrations, so wrap up warm, bring your family and friends along and join us in getting into the Christmas spirit.”

Due to the success of the Reindeer Trail last year, a free Elf Trail will launch on November 17 where people can go on a journey through Braintree to find Father Christmas’ lost elves who are hiding in shops and window displays.

Participants will receive a certificate from Father Christmas when they complete the map and be in for a chance to win a festive hamper.

As well as the switch on events, a Christmas street market will take over the streets of the town centre and Braintree Town Hall where residents and visitors can browse more than 40 stalls.

From gourmet street food, a range of festive drinks, to arts and crafts, stocking filler gifts and homeware, there’s something for everyone.

For more information visit braintree.gov.uk/braintreestreetmarket and braintree.gov.uk/elftrail.