Father Christmas arrived in a blaze of glory when he helped launch festive celebrations at Beamish Museum.
Santa swapped his sleigh for a fire engine for a fantastic parade today.
The grand procession through the 1900s Town featured fire engines through the decades, as well as the museum’s own period vehicles, while Mrs Claus appeared on a sleigh pulled by huskies.
The Borneo Band played festive music and there was also a performance by Beamish Volunteer Choir and Youth Group.
Visitors then gathered at the winter fun fair and watched Father Christmas switch on the tree lights to declare Christmas at Beamish open.
Paul Foster, the attract historic events officer, said: “We were delighted to welcome Father Christmas to Beamish with such a magnificent parade.
We were delighted to welcome Father Christmas to Beamish with such a magnificent parade.Paul Foster
“It was an amazing sight to see the procession, including fire engines, huskies, Mrs Claus’ sleigh and the band, make its way through the 1900s Town as visitors lined the street – what a fantastic start to Christmas at Beamish.”
Christmas at Beamish takes place every day until Christmas Eve from 10am to 4pm, with the last admission at 3pm.
It is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Monday, January 2.
Father Christmas will be in his fireside Grotto at Pockerley Waggonway daily until Christmas Eve, along with his reindeer.
Beamish’s real ice rink also opened on Saturday at the Winter Fun Fair, which also includes the steam gallopers and sideshows.
A new Christmas Bazaar is open daily in The Town park, where visitors can browse the stalls to find presents, festive food, toys and decorations.
Unlimited Passes, which are valid for 12 months, can be used for Christmas at Beamish daytimes.
A small extra charge applies for Father Christmas’s Grotto, with a small gift included, ice rink, steam gallopers and sideshows.
More details are available via http://www.beamish.org.uk/events/christmas-at-beamish/.