Visitors to this year’s Sunderland Illuminations will have the chance to see personalised messages to their loved ones flash across an enormous dome – for the price of only £5.00.

The Sunderland Sphere – a dome measuring 18 metres across – will be one of the main attractions at this year’s Festival of Light.

The dome, which will be stationed in Roker Park, will display the messages of 100 visitors a night on its massive spherical screens.

Each personalised message will have a limit of 30 characters and will appear about once every 12 minutes throughout the evening.

The Sunderland Sphere is based on an illuminated dome in Beijing, China.

Cllr John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture, said, “Every year we try to make the Illuminations and Festival of Light even better than the last one and add something new to the old favourites.”

“People loved the award-winning ‘Heart Beat’ 3D light sculpture last year, where they completed the circuit to light up a giant heart shape, and this year we’re providing something even more interactive.”

“When people book their tickets online with their choice of time and day to visit Roker Park to see the Festival of Light, there’s also the chance to pay only £5.00 to have a message to loved ones, family and friends displayed up there in lights on the ‘Sunderland Sphere’ for everyone to enjoy.”

For more information about the Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light and to book tickets, please go to www.seeitdoitsunderland/illuminations. If you feel like having a message displayed on the sphere, look out for ‘Treat your friends or family to seeing their name up in lights’.

Booking online tickets is essential for the Festival of Light, which will take place in Roker Park from Thursday to Sunday between 18th October and 18th November. The festival will not take place on 11th November, but will be held every night during the October half-term holiday.

The Illuminations, which are free, will light up the seafront from Seaburn to Roker. They will be lit up every evening, apart from 11th November, from 4.00 to 9.00 pm.

Victoria French, the head of events at Sunderland City Council, said, “The Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light attract people from all over the region, and we’re doing everything we can to make their visit a great one.”

“There’s a park-and-ride system in place and increased public transport services to get people to and from the seafront, online tickets into Roker Park to see the lights displays so you can avoid queues, and a mixture of new attractions and old favourites for everyone to enjoy.”  

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