SANTA’S reindeer are stopping off in Sunderland ahead of their biggest night of the year.
Rudolph and Co – or Bingo, Monopoly, Jonne, Cheese and Fromage to give them their official names – are in Mowbray Park until Monday before they head off to help Santa deliver his presents on Tuesday night.
Visitors to the park can visit the three adult males and two female calves today, tomorrow and Monday between 10am and 5pm.
Reindeer herder Hen Robinson, who spends the rest of the year caring for the herd in The Cairngorms in Scotland, said: “We always get a great response in Sunderland, the reindeer help to add a little magic at Christmas.”
A giant animatronic polar bear has also returned to the city to get Wearside in the festive mood.
Bjorn the Bear and his keeper Ursula arrived in Sunderland yesterday and will be at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens until today.
Chris Alexander, chief operating officer of Sunderland Live, which is delivering Sunderland’s Christmas programme on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said: “We have had a fantastic programme of events so far in Sunderland and we’re delighted to be welcoming Santa’s reindeer into Mowbray Park this weekend for a rest ahead of the big day. To celebrate the last shopping weekend before Christmas, we have lots of extra activities taking place in the city including more street entertainment, Santa’s elves will be in the Christmas Village and Lightweight (a giant light installation) will return to Mowbray Park plus much, much more.”
Councillor John Kelly, who is in charge of culture and leisure at the council, said: “I encourage everyone who has that last minute shopping trip to do, to come into Sunderland, meet the reindeer and make the most of the free parking in council car parks and on-street spaces over the weekend.”