CASH-STRAPPED town centre chiefs have been forced to choose between hiring a celebrity to switch on Burton’s Christmas lights or a fireworks display to wow the crowds.
Paul Howard, Burton town centre manager, confirmed to the Mail that ‘tough times’ meant he had opted for a fireworks show rather than having a famous face to throw the switch and light up the town on Sunday, November 24.
Instead, one of Burton’s own celebrities, Mayor of East Staffordshire Michael Rodgers, will be the man charged with launching the town’s festive celebrations.
Mr Howard told the Mail: “I can confirm that we had to make a choice between hiring a celebrity to switch on the lights and a fireworks display.
“We chose a fireworks display.
“The event is paid for by 100 per cent sponsorship and, due to tough times, it has been very difficult to get people on board.”
In the past, the likes of singing sensation Chesney Hawkes and X Factor competitors Same Difference have appeared.
This year’s event will begin at 3pm, with Touch FM radio DJ Mark O’Sullivan hosting and entertainment from several acts from the Burton area.
The lights will be switched on at 5pm and will be followed by a fireworks display from world champions Pyrotex Fireworx Ltd.
The event will also see the return of the controversial Burton ice rink.
That attraction will be 50 per cent larger and will revolve around a central Christmas tree this year.
The ice rink was widely criticised and little used last year, with just 1,073 people paying to use the £41,000 facility during the three months it was open.
Councillors have promised the rink, which cost £14,000 more than anticipated and made a loss of more than £1,600, will be improved for 2013.