Santa on hand to illuminate Bishop Auckland

Visitors to Bishop Auckland are being encouraged to join in with festive fun in the town.

As part of Christmas festivities a number of events are taking place to entertain shoppers and the Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership (AAP) is helping to fund the fun through their neighbourhood budget.

Auckland Castle Main Entrance

Shops are getting into the spirit of things with festive window displays and the festive fun kicks off on Thursday 2nd December when the town will illuminate with the official Christmas tree lights switch on.

Children from Etherley Lane and Cockton Hill Primary Schools will lead a short lantern parade and a fire eater, highland dancers and music from Spennymoor Brass Band and Aycliffe Pipe Band will entertain the crowds.

Santa will make a special appearance and after the switch on everyone is invited to accompany him to the Town Hall with magician Mr Twister.

Street entertainment, funded by Durham County Council, continues the celebrations on Saturday December 4th, 11th and 18th when there will be musical entertainment and festive characters in Newgate Street between 11.30am and 3.30pm.

The Newgate Centre will also be providing entertainment between 5.00pm and 8.00pm on Thursday December 16th and 23th when Punch and Judy, face painters and balloon modellers will keep shoppers amused.

The Newgate Centre will host, for the first time, a  Winter Wonderland Window. This will be on display in Unit 10 of the centre from now until Wednesday 5th January 2011.

The annual Butterwick Charity Christmas Craft Fête will be held in the Newgate Centre on Thursday 2nd December between 10.00am and 3.30pm.  Proceeds from this event will go to the Butterwick Hospice.

Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland

Santa will appear at the Four Clocks Christmas Fayre on Wednesday December 8th and 15th between 3.00pm and 6.30pm at the Community Centre on Newgate Street.

Santa will also be in his grotto in Bishop Auckland Town Hall on Saturday December 11th and 18th between 10.00am until noon and on Tuesday December 21st between 3.00pm and 5.00pm.

Steve McCormick, Bishop Auckland Town Centre Manager, said: “I’m sure there is something for everyone this Christmas time in Bishop Auckland so come along and enjoy the special festive ambience that is being created in the town centre.”

Angelina Maddison, Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP co-ordinator, said: “The town centre has always had a tradition of celebrating the festive season and this year is no different thanks to support from local councillors and other partners.

“Bishop Auckland will be a vibrant, good place to enjoy the Christmas shopping experience.”

The events are organised in partnership between Durham County Council and Bishop Auckland Town Council.