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Don't miss Boston's Big Night Out TONIGHT

Thursday is Boston's Big Night Out - the second Illuminate parade leading to the switching on of this year's Christmas lights.

The big lights switch-on is at 6.30pm, after two illuminated parades merge in the Market Place, one crossing St Botolph's footbridge and the other marching in from Central Park.

The Christmas fun in the town centre starts much earlier, with a Christmas market from noon.

Boston's second Illuminate parade will look at the themes behind why the Pilgrims decided to leave the country in 1607. The second inspired and spectacular interpretation of the Mayflower 400 journey and what brought the Pilgrims to Scotia Creek, near Fishtoft, one dark night in the autumn of 1607.

The parades will culminate in choirs singing Beyond the Horizon, the Mayflower song composed by a local musician and songwriter, set in front of a stunning light projection onto the parade and St Botolph's Church (Boston Stump).

Birds will be used as a motif throughout the 2016 festival, with doves to represent the peace and liberty sought by the Pilgrims and swallows to symbolise hope and migration. The specially-crafted projections will use animation and video.

Steve Hatton, Director at Electric Egg Ltd said: "Electric Egg is delighted to explore the themes of the Pilgrim story at this year's Illuminate festival. We will explore themes of liberty and migration using animation, illustration and video which will be projected in a variety of locations around Boston including the tower of St Botolph's. We hope these works will stimulate debate and a curiosity in Boston's rich history and the town's contribution to the Pilgrim story."

Artists Ruth Pigott and Jessica Aylen, of the Curiosity Creators, have made paper birds to be handed out to the crowd, in addition to around 150 huge bird lanterns which will be carried.

Different groups, including Wrangle School, Boston West Academy, Wyberton School, St Thomas' School, St Giles Academy, Boston Explorers and Fishtoft Parish Council have worked with the Curiosity Creators to create their own bird lanterns to carry in the parade.

The festivals will culminate in a huge international celebration in 2020 to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower, and the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in America. For more information about Boston's connection to the Mayflower story, visit

The activities in Boston Market Place, hosted by LincsFM, will also include face painting from 3pm, fairground attractions and Santa's Grotto. There will be a market from noon until 8pm and late night shopping, in addition to performances by Sarah Lowe and Boston Jive.

After the festivities in Boston Market Place, make sure to visit Pescod Square's Christmas light switch on at 7pm, in association with Oldrids and hosted by Endeavour FM. This year, the lights will be switched on by some well-loved children's characters. The characters will take part in Oldrids' children's treasure hunt, before delivering gifts to the Pilgrim Hospital's children's ward.

Don't miss your chance to dine with the characters in Oldrids' restaurant between 3.30pm and 5pm (booking required). Oldrids will also host festive food tastings, carol singers, bell ringers, and balloon popping. Look out for entertainment by Alan School of Dance and a pantomime performance from Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, as well as onstage giveaways. Weather permitting, the popular snow globe competition will return to Pescod Square this year.

Anna Kingman, Projects Manager for Transported said: "Transported is working with Boston Borough Council to make 2016's Illuminate Parade even bigger and better than last year's event. We are excited to build on the artistic elements of 2015's festival with light projections."

See for videos and photos from Transported's previous festival in Boston borough. Follow the Illuminate preparations on Twitter and add your own photos with #Illuminate2016 and #Mayflower400.

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One of the Illuminate projections which will light up Boston on Thursday night.

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Scenes from last year's Illuminate and Christmas celebrations.