Blackpool is set to reach for the stars when it launches the 2016 Illuminations.
A space-themed digital projection on to the Tower and Star Trek features will see this year’s display boldly go into new territory.
Artistic directors including Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen yesterday unveiled plans which will see a festival and a culinary village created for the first time in a bid to encourage people out of their cars.
As part of the second year of the Lightpool project, funded mainly through a £2m grant from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund, three new films have been made to project on to the Tower which will be scaffold-free for the first time in seven years.
The Lightpool Village will include refreshment stalls on the Comedy Carpet for the first time while the Lightpool Festival between October 28 and November 2 will see international artists transform the town centre with neon-inspired images.
Meanwhile, in a bid to boost contributions to the £2m annual cost of the Illuminations, new sponsors including the Beach House bistro on the Promenade have come on board, while visitors who make a £5 donation will receive a free souvenir brochure.
Laurence has collaberated with his film-maker daughter Cecile to make Enchanted Blackpool which will be screened nightly across the facade of the Tower Ballroom.
He said this year people would see a complete shift in the way the Illuminations is delivered.
He added: “Finally for the first time we are going to be celebrating the Illuminations, not just shifting around things we have seen for a couple of years.
“We are bringing people into Blackpool to celebrate a beautiful moment in the year when the light and season changes.
“When the rest of the country goes dark, Blackpool turns the light on.
“We will have the Lightpool Festival and the Lightpool Village, finally there is an event to come to and a destination.”
The designer added: “Inspired by places like Las Vegas, we want to make sure when people are here they are being totally dazzled by something they have not seen before.”
This year’s sponsors include Beaverbrooks jewellers, the Houndshill Centre and the Sands cabaret venue.
But with the lights still mainly funded by the council, town hall chiefs are calling for more businesses to support the Illuminations.
Deputy leader of Blackpool Council Gillian Campbell said: “The council invests in the Illuminations because we understand how vital they are for the town. We are trying to get away from the council paying for everything. It is good we are getting more sponsors but we can always do with more getting on board.”