ICE thrones, giant rabbits and ‘voice extractors' will be among the various weird and wonderful highlights of this year's Christmas Lights Festival.

Organisers have unveiled their plans for next month's event which signals the start of the festive season.

With a theme of ‘undiscovered Oxford’, the three-day Oxford City Council-organised festival will see light installations, dramatic performances and craft workshops take place across the city.

Much of the activity will be focussed in four areas - the Castle Quarter, Bonn Square, Gloucester Green and Broad Street.

Schoolchildren will kick things off on the evening of Friday, November 16, when they lead an illuminated parade through the heart of the city centre.

SEE AGAIN: Pictures from last year's festival 

This year a giant white rabbit will take pride of place at the front of the march, part of a link with the historic Covered Market that will also see footprints lead the way to the Oxford institution to tempt people in.

More than 400 schools and community groups have helped put the parade together and schoolchildren have been hard at work for weeks creating the floats and lanterns, working alongside 10 professional artists.

Oxford Mail:

Kieran Cox of East Oxford’s Fusion Arts has been helping to co-ordinate the workshops.

He said: “We’ve allowed the children and young people to discover their own stories and values and bring all those things to the table.

“So we’ve got everything from a giant king and poppies to a mer-horse and Transformers characters.

“For me the creation is the most important thing – it’s about bringing people together to create something and make them feel like everyone belongs in this city.”

Fusion Arts is also helping to project light installations on landmarks including the Museum of Natural History, the university church and the Old Schools Quad at the Bodleian Library – buildings that have rarely, if ever, been lit up in this way before.

Anya Fox, creative producer of the festival, said visitors should also look out for thrones sculpted out of ice, dancers suspended from giant helium balloons and a ‘shimmer tree’ light and sound art installation.

She added: “They will be making the throne from scratch off site and then bringing it on for people to sit on and pose.

“I like to make things as interactive as possible and a throne seemed appropriate, given it’s going to be in the castle quarter.

“This is my second year of putting the programme together and it just gets bigger and bigger.

“My aim is to bring far-out communities into their own city and to allow people to be part of it rather than just a spectator."

She added: “A lot of people may feel the city centre isn’t for them and we want to show that isn’t true.”

Oxford Mail:

Actors from Pegasus Theatre on Magdalen Road in East Oxford are organising the ‘biggest ever’ game of charades as they attempt to get revellers talking and interacting with each other.

Performers will be out on the city streets trailing elements of the theatre’s Christmas show where, they say, ‘anything goes.’

‘Voice extractors’ from Oxford Contemporary Music will be out and about this weekend to record people’s voices to be used in their installation.

Based on a concept developed as part of the Hull City of Culture, a 'voice park' will be set up near the castle with pods that speak back to people as part of a playful, interactive exploration of voice and communication.

The Old Fire Station will project images of its current exhibition ‘our place’, put together by homeless people, on its George Street building.