SCHOOLCHILDREN, MPs and a rap group have been drafted in to turn on Oxfordshire’s Christmas lights this year.

Lights switch-on events will begin in Bicester on Thursday next week before running through to a final ceremony in Wallingford a fortnight later.

In Oxford the festive season will start on Friday, November 27 in the city centre.

Galleries, theatres, museums and open spaces will host an evening of art, music, dance and performance, and from 6.15pm schoolchildren will lead a procession illuminating the Christmas lights street by street.

A German style Christmas market and Winter Wonderland themed display will also be held at Oxford Castle throughout the day.

Colin Reid, cultural development manager at Oxford City Council, said: “This Christmas, cultural organisations, community groups, the universities and businesses across the city are all working together to provide a full festive programme of activities.

“Families, residents and visitors will enjoy an exciting array of events which we are organising with Oxford Inspires and many other partner organisations.”

In Witney, the town’s lights will be switched on by Conservative Party leader David Cameron on Friday, November 27.

Father Christmas and some real reindeer, a roller-skating Christmas pudding and a stilt walking tree will be at the event, which will run between 5.30pm to 7.45pm.

The Witney Town Band and the Oxford Caledonian Pipes and Drums band will also entertain spectators, and revellers will be able to feast on a hog roast.

In Woodstock mulled wine, soup and chestnuts will be the order of the day as town mayor Peter Jay switches on the town’s Christmas lights at 6pm on Saturday, November 28.

The Christmas season will be officially launched in Bicester on Thursday, November 19 with a fun fair, hot chestnut stalls and a host of stage entertainment from 4pm.

Banbury town centre will host a musical extravaganza on Sunday, November 29 between 12pm and 6pm.

Rap band Blazin’ Squad will feature alongside popular local bands Harlequinn and Outraze at the event.

In Wallingford the lights will be switched on at 6pm on Thursday, December 3.

The town’s celebrations will have an Edwardian theme, complete with barrel organs and carriage rides around the town.

For the first time an ice rink will be set up in the Market Place.

On the same night Chipping Norton will play host to stalls and children’s rides for its Christmas lights switch on.

Shops will stay open from to 9.30pm, and there will also be a farmer’s market.