A huge interactive dome will take centre stage at this year’s Festival of Light in Roker Park during the annual Illuminations along Sunderland’s award winning seafront.

Measuring 18 metres across the ‘Sunderland Sphere ‘ is a completely new addition to this year’s event.

Up to a 100 visitors a night will have the chance to have their messages to loved ones displayed up in lights.

Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly 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. 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 to have messages to their loved ones, friends and family displayed up there in lights on the ‘Sunderland Sphere’ for everyone to enjoy.”

For more information on the event, attractions, and online tickets please visit www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/illuminations and look for ‘Treat your friends or family to seeing their names up in lights’ to buy your message for moderation and display.

Each personalised greeting has a limit of 30 characters, and will be displayed on the giant spherical screens once every 12 minutes that evening.

The on-line ticket only Festival of Light in Roker Park runs Thursday-Sunday from October 18 until November 18, with the exception of Sunday 11 November, with gates also open every night of the October half term week.

The Illuminations which are free and run along the seafront from Seaburn to Roker, are open every evening 4 – 9.30pm apart from 11 November.

Head of Events at Sunderland City Council, Victoria French added: “The Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light attracts 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. There are online tickets into Roker Park to see the lights display so you can avoid queues, and a mixture of new attractions and old favourites for everyone to enjoy.”

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