MALDON High Street is set to close today as the annual Christmas festival is making a comeback - and its bigger than ever.

The festival returns to the town centre today with the lights switch-on, food and drink, entertainment and more from 4pm to 9pm.

Michael Pearlman, chairman of this year's Maldon Christmas Festival, has promised a great evening as all the stops have been pulled out for the event.

Entertainment and more

The big Christmas lights switch-on will be hosted by town mayor David Ogg outside All Saints Church at 5pm - after which visitors can enjoy the range of entertainment.

Acts revealed include Michael Glaysher from Sun records as Elvis, Terry Batt as Buddy Holly, John Wiffen as Jerry Lee Lewis, the Sun-Rayz band providing backing for Louie B as compere, SMC.TODAY Jukebox, The Big Sing choir, Dave Norwood, Ash and Sunscreen.

Besides the late night opening of the High Street shops - which will stay open until 9pm - there will also be over 40 stalls offering a wide variety of craft and food and drink.

For children, there will be a Punch and Judy show, live reindeers and a Father Christmas grotto.

And there’s a chance the youngsters might be able to see Elsa, Princess Anna and Olaf from Frozen, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Prizes will also be awarded for best small shop window display, best large shop/retail area window display, best salon display, and best dressed restaurant/bar.

Road closures

This year, the High Street will be closed from West Square to Wantz Road and from Fullbridge Roundabout up to Market Hill from 3pm to 9.30pm.

Market Hill will only have access for residents.

There’s free parking from 2pm in the town centre car parks.

Free shuttle buses into the town centre will also run from 4pm to 9.30pm from Morrisons and Museum of Power.