Thousands flock to South Shields to make camel parade a Christmas hit

A bumper crowd of thousands saw Christmas brought to life in South Shields tonight - as three kings arrived in style to reign on their own parade.

There were plenty of humps in the road, but an enchanting evening of festive fun went smoothly as a trio of camels proved the stars of a spectacular seasonal show.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

The festive throngs were wowed as Three Wise Men rode into town on their trusty camels, as a rich array of street entertainment from stilt walkers to live music from local group Bessie and the Zinc Buckets proved a Christmas hit at the third annual Camel Parade.

It was animal magic as families packed the procession route as the camels made their journey through Ocean Road.

The dark night was lit up by scores of smiling youngsters holding lanterns as the parade got underway.

The huge turnout of people were serenaded with seasonal songs at Haven Point before the fuse was lit on the fantastic fireworks finale.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

The night started and ended with a bang as energetic drumming group Spark! led the procession down Ocean Road to Haven Point, where the stunning pryotechnic display lit up the night sky.

Young and old alike braved the cold night to enjoy a spectacular yuletide treat.

Victoria Roberts enjoyed the Christmas cracker along with her daughter Poppy, 4, and her best pal Lily Davis, also four.

Mrs Roberts said: “It was lovely.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

“It was great to see the camels and the children really enjoyed seeing them.

“It is a great way to start Christmas.”

Her seasonal sentiments were shared by Lisa Barton, 41, who joined in the fun with her chidren Sophie and Molly Barton, aged 5 and 8, and her sister Michelle Smith, 42.

Mrs Barton said: “The parade was great.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

Christmas Camel Parade is led by high impact drumming group Spark! and stilt walkers as they process along Ocean Road to Haven Point.

“The children have seen camels at the zoo, but never like this.

“This is the first time we’ve attended the parade and we will definitely be coming again.”

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “The Borough’s famous camel parade is the highlight of the Christmas Wonderland programme and this year was no exception – if not the best so far! It was a delight to see so many people line the parade route and enjoy the array of sensational seasonal entertainment, live music and vibrant lighting that was on offer.

“As always the arrival of the camels went down a storm with families and friends taking photographs and viewing them before they headed home. Crowds were then left awestruck by the parade’s spectacular fireworks display which looked amazing with the backdrop of the pier.

“We would encourage visitors to continue enjoying South Tyneside’s festivities by visiting the wonderful light display at St Hilda’s Church Gardens and embracing the Christmas spirit while out shopping with an array of yuletide music and entertainment on offer across the Borough’s town centres.”

The Countdown to Christmas continues to gather pace in the borough as a glittering display in St Hilda’s Church Gardens is launched tomorrow, which will be on show throughout the festive period.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the sights while strolling through Christmas lights display featuring glowing polar bears, penguins, reindeers, icicle fountains, a Santa and his sleigh as well as a traditional nativity scene.

St Hilda’s trees will light up with a canopy of lights and visitors will be invited to ‘hug-a-tree’ set up with movement sensor twinkling lights.