No frosty welcome at Sunderland's festive village
Visitors to the launch of Sunderland's festive village received anything but a frosty welcome as they got into the Christmas spirit.
Crowds flocked to Keel Square to see the official opening of the second annual Frost Village in the city.
Young TV star Ella George of CBBC's Ice Stars performed during a special ice gala to mark this year's launch.
She was joined by North East Disney on Ice star Callum Leach, and ice dancing group the Ice Crystals.
Entertainment form the newly-formed Sunderland Connect Network Band, which played their first-ever gig at the event.
The event concluded with a festive choir and a singalong, before the public descended on the open air ice rink.
The Frost Village also features a winter market each weekend in the run-up to Christmas, with themed stalls of tasty treats, handcrafted goodies and unique gifts.
Christmas movies in Keel Square are also set to entertain families every Saturday and Sunday, where people are able to wrap up in a blanket, have a hot chocolate and enjoy a festive film together.
The Merry Monk Bar, will be open daily until Christmas Eve, and there will be an Apres Skate bar, where vsisitors can watch the skating, while enjoying festive food drink and entertainment.
Laura Lewis, 31, was there with her nine-year-old daughter Ellie Smith.
Laura, from Houghton, said: "Ellie can't wait to go ice skating, since she missed out last year when her friends all went, due to her being poorly.
"I brought her down today as a special treat on the first night, to make sure she wouldn't miss out again."
Ken Dunbar, from Sunderland BID, said he was thrilled to be back for a second year.
He said: "I'm convinced we are all going to have an absolutely fantastic Christmas here at the Forst Village.
"We've worked very hard to get the right things here.
"Last year we saw a big increase in the footfall in the city."
Mr Dunbar added that he hoped visitors to the Frost Village would go on to visit shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, afterwards.
For more information and a programme of events, visit www.sunderlandchristmas.co.uk