A PACKED weekend of events in Bradford will draw crowds to the city as the festive period is kicked off in style with the Christmas lights switch-on today while there will be a more sombre note tomorrow for Remembrance Day.

The Broadway will host the Christmas lights switch-on at 6.30pm on Saturday with stars including M People singer Heather Small and the next day it also hosts the inaugural Telegraph & Argus Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Awards.

The Festive Launch at the shopping centre runs from 10am to 7pm and will feature an exciting line-up of VIP guests and local performers followed by a live countdown for Bradford’s Christmas light switch on at 6.30pm.

Ian Ward, general manager at The Broadway, said: “We are delighted to be hosting such a spectacular event at The Broadway and look forward to welcoming families from the area to celebrate the start of Bradford’s Christmas festivities.

“Last year’s event attracted 52,000 visitors and with so much talent already confirmed, it promises to be another night to remember. We’ll also be running a series of on-stage competitions to give away some great prizes, so it’s not one to be missed."

The Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Awards on Sunday evening aim to celebrate success, recognise achievement, highlight the innovative people, venues and destinations throughout Bradford district who are making the area a great place to shop, dine and spend leisure time.

Organised in partnership with The Broadway, the awards final will take place under the Christmas lights inside the main concourse of shopping centre and will be attended by hundreds from this growing sector. It will be a celebration of the region’s best companies and a reminder that Bradford is a great place to visit.

The Lord Mayor Cllr Doreen Lee will attend the city centre Remembrance Day commemorations and lay a wreath at Bradford’s Cenotaph on Sunday.

The parade will set off at 10.40am from City Hall to the Cenotaph at the bottom of Morley Street, followed by the Remembrance Service, wreath-laying ceremony and silence at 11am.

After the service, the parade will march through City Park, when the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Lord Mayor, High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, and representatives from the Royal British Legion will take the Salute which will be followed by the 'Sunset' ceremony. Refreshments will be served afterwards in City Hall.

The streets of the Bradford district will also be sparkling once again with the return of Sparkling Bradford organised by The Broadway Bradford, Bradford Council, Made in Bradford, Visit Bradford, The University of Bradford and the Bradford Business Improvement District (BID).

Sparkling Bradford Christmas is rolling out an unprecedented line-up of indoor and outdoor yuletide events to celebrate the winter season. Hundreds of people are expected to gather at numerous experiences; putting the district firmly on the map as a Christmas destination of the North.

All of the season’s events have been wrapped up in a Christmas brochure, which will be delivered across the district and can be found in tourism offices across Ilkley, Haworth, Keighley and Bradford.

A Bradford Council spokesperson, said: “It’s phenomenal to see the return of this extremely successful initiative showcasing the many amazing events across the district for people to enjoy.

“There are some fabulous things to see and take part in over the coming weeks, from the ever-popular Victorian Christmas Market at the Bradford Industrial Museum, the famous Alhambra pantomime, the Winter Wonderland event at Bolling Hall and new for this year the Bradford Christmas Fayre and Lantern Parade, and so much more – all easily accessible online or in the brochure.”

As part of the initiative, visitors are encouraged to take part in the Christmas trail. Large Christmas cards created by Sand in Your Eye are being displayed in six locations and a hidden letter must be found at each location, creating an anagram to be solved. The winner will receive £200 in vouchers for The Broadway and will be announced on Friday, January 3. Each week, £50 will be given for the best selfie submitted on social media using the hashtag #SparklingBradfordSelfie.

For more information follow #SparklingBradford and @VisitBradford on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, search Sparkling Bradford online or visit www.visitbradford.com/sparklingbradford.