Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 07:53 UK

Illuminations 'still to go ahead'

Some of the previous laser displays at the illuminations (pic by Walsall Council)
Organisers said this year's event would include laser displays

A light show in the West Midlands will return later this year despite a drastic fall in visitor numbers in 2007, organisers have said.

Walsall's Illuminations were moved closer to Christmas to increase numbers but 121,000 people visited over six weeks, down 40,000 on 2006 figures.

This year the lights will be switched on in their traditional slot, from late September to early November.

Council chiefs said they hoped the event would attract 150,000 visitors.

After the 2006 event at the Walsall Arboretum consultants were brought in to try and modernise the attraction.

'Real buzz'

However, after Walsall Council, which runs the event, faced losses of 200,000 last year, organisers admitted the 60-year-old illuminations could be an "outdated event".

In the 1960s and 1970s, the lights were bought second-hand from the organisers of the Blackpool Illuminations.

However, over recent years all the displays have been made by in-house designers.

Organisers said this year's event would feature laser shows and incorporate children's characters including Harry Potter, Bob the Builder and Dora the Explorer.

Walsall Council leisure spokeswoman Louise Harrison said: "People are going to feel a real buzz at this year's event.

"They cannot fail to have a good time because there is so much to see and do."

Tickets will go on sale from August.

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SEE ALSO
Illuminations 'must be reviewed'
21 Dec 07 |  West Midlands

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