Sunderland's Winter Funderland set to reopen after Storm Arwen caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage
Storm Arwen did its best to dampen festive spirits at the city’s Winter Funderland – but the pop-up Christmas experience will be lighting up the former Crowtree site once more this weekend.
Tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused last Friday as the storm ripped through tipis, damaged rides and broke big screens at the Winter Funderland.
Staff from organisers Noble Funfairs and Turners Funfairs, as well as Bar Justice, who run the bars at the site, have worked tirelessly all week to replace the tipi, screens and make repairs and will be reopening the site from Friday, December 3.
Sean Maddison, from Bar Justice, said: “We took the decision not to open on Friday night at 4pm on the Friday and we’re so glad we did as it wouldn’t have been safe for people.
"Obviously the damage happened over night. We knew it was coming, but we didn’t expect it to literally rip the tipi apart, meaning we’ve had to totally replace it as it was beyond repair. A couple of the rides were also damaged, as well as some of the Alpine village.”
He added: “This has been months of preparation and we’d just been gaining momentum with a good crowd in, so it’s really frustrating. But we’re thankful no one was hurt.”
The Winter Funderland, a mixture of bars, live music and rides, is helping to create a real festive offering in this corner of the city centre and complements the nearby ice rink at Keel Square, which opened this week; the Sunderland Empire panto which opens on December 10 and Christmas shows at the new Fire Station Auditorium which also opens from December 10.
Sean said: “There’s so much on offer for people at this end of town this Christmas, and we’re hoping people will support it.”
::Winter Funderland is open seven days a week from December 3 until January. The fairground rides are running 3pm-8pm on school days and from noon until 8pm on weekends and holidays. The bars are open daily from noon until 11pm Sunday to Thursday and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, with children and pets welcome until 8pm.
Entry is free, with rides costing from £2.50. The grotto will have a separate entry price.