Belfast`s Christmas to have the `X` factor
12 November 2007
Christmas in Belfast definitely will have the `X` factor.
Thousands of people are expected to pack into Belfast city centre on Tuesday 20 November, to herald the official start of Belfast`s Christmas season.
Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers will be joined by chart-topping singer Shayne Ward and Bangor-born model turned TV presenter Zöe Salmon to switch on the city`s Christmas lights.
“Every year, about 15,000 people pack into the area in front of City Hall for the switching on of the Christmas lights: it`s a great night for all the family, and we always have a packed programme of entertainment,” said the Lord Mayor.
“Over the years, we have attracted many top stars to perform at Belfast`s switch on, and 2007 most definitely is no exception. I am delighted that the undoubted highlight of this year`s event will be a personal appearance by Shayne Ward, who will perform a selection of his hits.
“And we`re equally delighted that our special guest compère for the evening will be Zöe Salmon, a former Miss Northern Ireland and now a firm favourite with our younger citizens, as presenter of `Blue Peter`,” added the Lord Mayor.
Speaking from London, Zöe Salmon could hardly contain her excitement:
"I love Christmas and I love Belfast - so the two of them together is a perfect match as far as I am concerned. I have done many strange and wonderful things on `Blue Peter`, but next Tuesday is going to be one of the most exciting... I just can`t wait!"
Shayne Ward also expressed his joy at being invited to take part in the annual ceremony.
“The switching on of Belfast`s Christmas lights is one of the best nights of the year, and it is a real honour for me to be taking part. It should be a truly fantastic evening and I look forward to everyone in Belfast coming down and enjoying the party.”
Citybeat presenter Stuart Robinson will get the show on the road at around 6.30pm, playing popular festive hits. He said:
“I`m really looking forward to getting Christmas 2007 officially underway for Belfast. We`ll be playing nonstop Christmas favourites to get everyone in the mood on what will be a great party night!”
Entertainment also will be provided by characters from the pantomime, `Sleeping Beauty`, the choir of Strandtown Primary School and the youngsters from Citybeat`s `Young Star Christmas Tour`. There also will be a special appearance by one of children`s television`s favourite characters, Postman Pat.
The annual Belfast City Council Christmas Lights Switch On takes place on Tuesday 20 November, with the entertainment programme beginning at around 6.30pm.
Other highlights of Belfast City Council`s Christmas programme include:
• the hugely popular Continental Christmas Market, in the grounds of City Hall, from Wednesday 21 November and continuing right through until Tuesday 18 December, with food and craft stalls from all over Europe, and beyond;
• the 60-metre `Belfast Wheel`, which will continue to operate daily, except Christmas Day, in Donegall Square East;
• the Waterfront Hall`s pantomime this year is `Sleeping Beauty`, which runs from 1 December – 12 January;
• Christmas tours of Belfast Castle throughout the month of December;
• `A Magical Christmas` at Northern Ireland`s triple award-winning tourist attraction, Belfast Zoo, over the weekends of 1 – 2, 8 -9 and 15 – 16 December;
• the lamplight procession from St. Anne`s Cathedral to the City Hall, led by the Lord Mayor and Dean Houston McKelvey, on the evening of Tuesday 4 December;
• the Christmas Fair and Market at St. George`s Market, on 8 and 9 December.
Dozens of other events also are taking place at libraries, community centres and other venues, big and small, across the city over the festive period.
There also will be a fantastic New Year`s Eve party in Custom House Square, details of which will be announced at the beginning of December.
Full details of all events are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre, on 9024 6609, or by visiting www.belfastcity.gov.uk/events.
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