A popular winter festival is set to be “bigger and better than ever”, according to Aberdeen’s culture chief.
Councillor Marie Boulton’s comments came ahead of the Aberdeen Christmas Village opening on Friday at its new Broad Street home.
In its new location, this year’s Christmas Village will feature a range of events and activities organised by Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Inspired and Codona’s Amusement Park.
And organisers are calling on those visiting to take a look inside Marischal College Quad – an area set to be transformed into a winter wonderland market.
The festive market is to feature vendors from Young Enterprise, The Prince’s Trust and Women in Business, who will be showcasing their creative products.
The following weekend the quad will again be transformed to become, this time, the FINE Festive Food and Drink Market. And there will be a further change when it is handed over to the HAAN Christmas Design Market, which will run over three weekends during December.
Housed within a marquee – the largest freestanding structure to be built within the historic quad, and curated by SMART Art Agency, FINE and HAAN will celebrate local producers, designers and manufacturers from the North-east.
Favourites such as the popular open-air ice rink are also set to return, with fairground rides including a traditional carousel, helter-skelter and, once again, The Blizzard.
Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokeswoman 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.
“People will see firm favourites such as the Christmas tree 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.
“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.”
This year’s Christmas lights switch-on takes place on Sunday, November 26, and will be combined with Denis Law’s Freedom of City presentation.
The parade from Albyn Place down Union Street to the Castlegate, will be led by Lord Provost Barney Crockett.
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.
“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 complemented 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.”
The festive season will draw to a close with the Hogmanay celebrations on Schoolhill on December 31, featuring live music from the Mersey Beatles and Banjo Lounge 4, before the fireworks display from His Majesty’s Theatre’s rooftop at midnight.