Aberdeen will twinkle and sparkle this festive season with Christmas in Aberdeen, the brand new events and activities programme brought by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with Aberdeen Inspired.
The festive season will officially launch on Friday 17 November with the opening of the Aberdeen Winter Village, delivered by Codona’s Amusement Park, at Aberdeen’s brand new civic space on Broad Street.
The popular open air ice rink will feature once again, with fairground rides including a traditional carousel, helter-skelter and the return of The Blizzard.
However, if visitors venture inside Marischal College Quad they will find the area transformed into a winter wonderland market with vendors from Scottish Enterprise, The Princes Trust and Women in Business showcasing their creative produce.
The following weekend the Quad will once again be transformed, this time into FINE Festive Food and Drink Market (Thursday 23 – Sunday 26 November) and then once again, for HAAN Christmas Design Market, which will run over three weekends in December (7-10 Dec, 14-17 Dec and 21-23 Dec).
Housed within a 25 x 55m marquee, the largest free standing structure to be built within the historic quad, and curated by SMART Art Agency, these new additions will celebrate local producers, designers and makers from the North-East showcasing top quality products, but with the unique element where visitors will not experience the same market twice with a turnover of vendors that will see over 80 food, drink and creative featured.
In addition to the stall holders, visitors will have the opportunity to try their hand at making their own Christmas decorations, cards and even upcycle ceramics.
Aberdeen City Council Culture Spokesperson, Marie Boulton said; “Christmas in Aberdeen is shaping up to be a truly magical time of year, with an outstanding events line-up that is bigger and better than ever.
“Through our City Centre Masterplan Aberdeen City Council is committed to making Aberdeen an even more vibrant place to live, work and visit – and Christmas in Aberdeen creates over a month of activity that has something for everyone, but importantly encourages people into the city centre boosting the leisure economy.
“Collaborative working is vital to the success of events like our festive line-up, and through our Aberdeen 365 Events Programme, partnerships such as the one we have with Aberdeen Inspired demonstrate the commitment of our local and national partners in supporting our vision of development and sustainability of the city.
“People will see firm favourites such as the Christmas tree switch-on and Christmas lights switch-on which will have some added sparkle as it will also mark football legend Denis Law’s Freedom of Aberdeen award.
“The addition of FINE and HAAN markets shows a clear change in direction for Christmas, we are excited to be bringing local producers and eclectic and artisan offerings to the unique setting of the Marischal College Quad.
“Our vision for the city is to create a programme that provides an opportunity to promote and enhance the long-term economic prosperity of Aberdeen and the wider region by attracting visitors, both local and from further afield.”
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “As event organiser we look forward to welcoming visitors to the Aberdeen Christmas Village and are thrilled to mark the official launch. It was a tremendous success last year and we are pleased to bring back an even larger event which creates a wonderfully festive heart in the city centre.
“Aberdeen Inspired has worked alongside Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s to bring together a fantastic experience and we look forward to seeing everyone get into the Christmas spirit. All the funfair favourites are back again this year and we are delighted to make use of the new civic space on Broad Street. We are also pleased to see the village complimented by the community, HAAN and FINE markets over the subsequent weekends.
“One of Aberdeen Inspired’s primary aims is to increase footfall within the city centre and we are sure that the attractions of the Aberdeen Christmas Village will do exactly that, while also bringing in benefits to local restaurants, businesses and shops as people enjoy everything our great city has to offer.”
In addition to the new food and drink, and design markets, visitors will be pleased see traditional favourites in the festive events line-up – Christmas tree switch-on on Thursday 23 November, the Trinity Centre Reindeer Parade on Sunday 26 November, the Nativity Scene at St Nicholas Kirkyard from Monday 4 December to Friday 5 January, and the Friends of Hazlehead Winter Wonderland on Sunday 17 December.
This year’s Christmas lights switch-on, on Sunday 26 November, is a combined celebration with football legend Denis Law’s Freedom of Aberdeen award. The colourful parade from Albyn Place down Union Street to the Castlegate, will be led by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, as part of Aberdeen’s Christmas lights switch-on.
One of the highlights for Christmas in Aberdeen 2017 will be the 12 Days of Christmas Wooden Sculptures Trail. Twelve unique and striking totem poles will be located across the city centre from Friday 1 to Sunday 24 December.
Created by local chainsaw wood carver Gary Shand, the carvings depict the popular carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Sure to be a popular challenge for all ages, people are encouraged to explore the city using the 12 Days of Christmas map to find all 12 sculptures.
The festive season will draw to a close with the Hogmanay celebrations on Schoolhill on Sunday 31 December, where revellers can bring in the bells at the open air stage at Schoolhill for the ultimate Aberdeen street party, featuring live music from the Mersey Beatles and Banjo Lounge 4, before the spectacular fireworks display from His Majesty’s Theatre rooftop at midnight.