A Christmas wonderland for Sunderland

A huge crowd gathered for the Sunderland Christmas lights switch-on last year.
A huge crowd gathered for the Sunderland Christmas lights switch-on last year.
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RUDOLPH, fairies and a giant gingerbread house will help to transform Sunderland into a winter wonderland.

There’s a host of festive delights in the pipeline to help Wearsiders get in the Christmas spirit this year with events taking place across the city.

Highlights include the return of the reindeer to Mowbray Park - despite the fact one of the animals made a bid for freedom when it escaped last year - and a city centre illuminations switch on with Olympic athlete Steve Cram.

Area Christmas switch on events will also take place in Concord in Washington, Southwick and Washington Village, ensuring the whole city is lit up in time for Santa’s arrival.

Every week in the run up to Christmas, from November 17, a different children’s favourite fairytale will be brought to life with street theatre performers around the city centre.

Coun John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Safer City and Culture, said: “The switch on of the city centre illuminations is going to be a fantastic occasion. The event includes live music, Christmas carol singing and a spectacular fireworks display which will really hit home that Christmas is here.

“I am delighted that Steve Cram MBE, and our Olympic and Paralympic 2012 hopefuls Alyson Dixon and Fiona Tozer will join the Mayor to switch on the lights.

“Christmas time is all about families and this is truly an occasion for all the family to come and enjoy.”

Highlights this Christmas

• Illuminations

On November 17 at 6pm the city centre illuminations will be switched on.

With live music, carols and a firework display the annual switch will be carried out by Steve Cram MBE along with Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls Alyson Dixon and Fiona Tozer will join the Mayor of Sunderland to flick the switch.

The whole evening will be hosted by Simon Grundy and the Sun FM roadshow.

• On November 21, at 4.30pm the tree lights will be switched on at The Green at Southwick. Simon Grundy from Sun FM will host

the evening which features a performance from Southwick Primary School Choir and a visit from Santa Claus himself. The Mayor

of Sunderland will officially switch on the lights

• Magical Mowbray Park.

Mowbray Park becomes a magical fairy tale village from November 24. Let imaginations run wild with five wooden fairy tale huts to explore, a giant storybook, fairground rides and a story telling magic tree. Magical Mowbray Park will be open until December 24.

Four of Santa’s reindeer will be in the park from December 8.

• Giant Gingerbread House

On December 3 and 4, visitors to The Bridges can help to decorate a giant gingerbread house.

• The Bridges and a selection of retailers around the city centre will be open until 9pm every Thursday evening from November 17 until December 22. The Bridges will be open 9am to 9pm on weekdays in the last two weeks before Christmas.

• On December 3 from 11am to 1pm Santa will pay a visit to the new Sidings display at Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

31 December

• A Monster Ceilidh will take place at the Arts Centre Washington on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are £25 or £15 for under 16s.

A buffet is included in the price of the ticket. Tel. 219 3455 or visit www.artscentrewashington.co.uk