Get your skating shoes ready and celebrate the beginning of Christmas with Weymouth's BIG Christmas lighting-up celebration.

On Friday, December 1 the town will be filled with entertainment including dance troupes, choirs, singers and a Santa parade before residents can meet the cast from this year's pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, and join in the countdown to the BIG light switch-on.

The button to illuminate the town and Christmas tree will be pressed by the Mayor of Weymouth and Portland, Cllr Kevin Brookes, and the pantomime cast.

With the real ice rink returning to Weymouth there will be a chance for skaters to show off their skills from December 1 until January 1.

Following the arrival of Santa and his parade, he will take up residency in his grotto in Cineworld where children can find him every December weekend and the three days leading up to Christmas Day.

Weymouth's BIG Christmas celebrations will continue on Saturday, December 2 when the town links to the national retail initiative of Small Business Saturday.

There will also be a Carols around the Christmas tree event on Sunday, December 17 and a silent disco sessions will be held on Saturday, December 9 and Saturday, December 16.

There will also be ‘Space to Skate’ sessions for families who like the rink to be a little less crowded.

For those driving into the town there will be free parking from 3pm every day in December in all Weymouth and Portland Borough Council car parks.

Paul Mills, event manager at Weymouth BID said: “We have a great line-up of family entertainment from 2pm to 7pm on December 1, celebrating the launch of Weymouth’s BIG Christmas, as well as the first day offer on the ice rink of just £5 per session."

More local businesses have signed up to sponsor Weymouth’s BIG Christmas.

As reported, Asda have taken the 'Gold' sponsorship package for the event and a further six businesses have now signed up as sponsors.

One of the 'Bronze' sponsors is Brian Cooper, owner of Resort Marketing.

He said: “Best known for our resort tourist magazine, the team at Resort Marketing has also been involved with large events for many years, including the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival. It is therefore our pleasure to support Weymouth’s BIG Christmas, with its real ice rink bringing people into the town to enjoy the festivities and to do their Christmas shopping. The enhanced lighting won by Weymouth BID last Christmas made a big difference to the look and feel of Weymouth and we are looking forward to seeing our town looking festive in the coming weeks."

There will be a road closure in place on December 1 from 10.30am until 10pm at St Mary Street (Esplanade to St Edmund Street), New Bond Street, Bond Street (St Thomas Street to Maiden Street), St Thomas Street (School Street to St Alban Street) and St Alban Street (St Thomas Street to Maiden Street).

See a full programme at