Winter Wonderland returns to Rainton Arena with fairground rides, ice skating, food stalls and a pantomime
Festive cheer has returned to Rainton Arena with a bigger Winter Wonderland which will run for the next five weeks.
Guests can expect fairground rides, ice skating, food stalls, a pantomime and seasonal entertainment when the Winter Wonderland at Rainton Arena opens its doors today (Friday, November 26).
The huge festive fair, based near Houghton, launches with a live performance from pop group East-17 and will run for five weeks until January 2.
Despite challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, the event went ahead last year however organisers have ensured that 2021 will be even better.
New for this year is a three-tent tipi to house a bar with live music, additional thrill-seeker rides and children’s entertainment, along a covered ice rink for all-weather skating after it was previously uncovered.
There will also be various food and drinks stalls that will sell everything from mulled wine and hot chocolate to noodles, burgers, crepes and sweet treats.
Now in its third year, organisers are expecting large numbers to attend, especially after the coronavirus pandemic ruined many families’ plans last Christmas.
In previous years, visitors have travelled from Northumberland, Tyneside, Teesside and North Yorkshire to get involved in the festive fun.
Rainton Arena owner Jay Johal said: “We want our Winter Wonderland at Rainton Arena to become an iconic Christmas event in the North-East – an attraction that epitomises all that is fun and exciting about the festive period.
“We managed to open Winter Wonderland last year despite Covid restrictions, and in typical North-East style our visitors made the most of it.
“This year we want to offer them even more, and have invested in more attractions and better entertainment to ensure its an experience that is magical.”
He added: "I’m a bit of darer, I couldn’t go to sleep if I didn’t try and do it again.
"Obviously it was very scary last year but we planned all year around and we still got it to work so touch wood we’ve done the same this year.
"But this year, we thought we needed to go all out and just pray that restrictions would drop, they have been dropped and we’ve just worked so hard to make sure it is pulled off.
"There is still little teething issues but it’s the same in every place but the planning has come off well, we’ve got the marque around the ice rink and the Santa’s grotto is worked out really well.”
Entrance to the Winter Wonderland is free, although tickets will need to be purchased online to visit Santa’s grotto, to take part in ice skating, watch the pantomime or attend The Greatest Evening.
The fairground rides that are available on site are also all individually priced.