Thousands flock to South Tyneside to make festive celebrations a Christmas hit
Over 17,000 people turned out to enjoy a packed Christmas Wonderland programme of events and activities - with many more expected to have enjoyed the stunning array of illuminations, including the eye-catching display at St Hilda's Church.
The spectacular Camel Parade proved the biggest yuletide treat.
More than 7,000 people lined South Shields’ famous Ocean Road to see the impressive drumming group Spark! lead the parade, which featured the Three Wise Men travelling on camels, stilt-walking shepherds and bouncing stars.
This was followed by a striking array of creative lighting, exquisite illuminated puppets and live music from the popular local group, Bessie and the Zinc Buckets, at Haven Point before a spectacular festive firework display.
S Club Party pulled in a crowd of up to 3,000 people when they came to South Shields to switch on the town’s Christmas light displays and got crowds in the festive spirit with their range of pop hits.
Around 800 visitors enjoyed setting Hebburn and Jarrow a glow with their town lights switch on events.
Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Once again our Christmas Wonderland programme has been a marvellous success. The wide variety of annual festive events and entertainment just keeps going from strength to strength and we were delighted to see the biggest crowds recorded at the Borough’s famous Camel parade.
“It was wonderful to see so many families enjoying the celebrations which included a wonderful amazing line up of events with something for everyone to enjoy from our bright and colourful camel parade to seasonal light displays and live music. The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive and we are delighted that residents and visitors enjoyed the festivities.”
South Tyneside’s Christmas Fair returned for another successful year at Haven Point with more than 60 stalls selling everything from gifts to food and crafts. Around 5,000 people visited over the weekend who sampled the range of arts and crafts, decorations, jewellery as well as festive food and drink that were on offer.
An estimated 1,500 Christmas shoppers took time out to admire talented school choirs and orchestras and local musicians as they performed festive music in the Borough’s town centres throughout December.
And over 250 children from local school orchestras and choirs treated an audience of around 700 to an evening of traditional and modern carols at Temple Park Centre in South Shields.
The Christmas Wonderland programme also included a Winter Festival Day in Whitburn with stalls, seasonal carols and a host of family fun including face painting and a very special visit from Santa Claus himself.
In addition to this, there were more than 300 motifs, displays and garlands and over 20 Christmas trees put up across the Borough’s towns and villages.
The Christmas Wonderland 2015 events programme was organised by South Tyneside Council with support fromColmans fish and chips and Tyne and Wear Metro. The South Shields light switch on and the Camel Parade events were delivered in partnership with BBC Newcastle.
Councillor Kerr added: “We would like to thank all our partners for their support with our events programme and helping to make our festivities a real success.
“Although Christmas is a long way off we are already thinking about our 2016 Christmas programme. We look forward to welcoming visitors back this year for another Winter Wonderland spectacular.”