Aberdeen will twinkle and sparkle this festive season with the return of Christmas in Aberdeen, the seasonal events and activities programme organised by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with Aberdeen Inspired.
The festive season will officially launch on Thursday, November 22 with the opening of the bigger and better Christmas Village, in partnership with Aberdeen Inspired and delivered by Codona’s Amusement Park, in and around Aberdeen’s civic space on Broad Street.
The Christmas Village will be open daily throughout the festive season until Monday, December 31 apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
The popular open air ice rink will feature once again, with new fairground rides including The Snowball, Freak Out and bumper cars featuring alongside traditional favourites like the helter-skelter and carousel.
Some new additions to the Christmas Village this year include a Santa’s Grotto and the Christmas in the Quad market, both located in Marischal college and open every Thursday to Sunday. The market will feature a wide range of locally produced crafts, arts and gifts along with an offering of gourmet food and drink.
Aberdeen City Council culture spokesperson, councillor 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 as well as some new additions to the Christmas Village such as the Santa’s Grotto and Christmas in the Quad market in the unique setting of the Marischal College Quad".
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The Aberdeen Christmas Village will bring a festive feel-good factor to the heart of our city and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors. Each year we take on board feedback and it is our hope that the public will embrace everything on offer.
“As event organisers we have worked hard to bring in a diverse range of entertainment and festive fun and what has been created builds on the attractions put on in previous years. We are delighted to introduce our Christmas in the Quad this year, which will feature a fantastic range of artisan crafts, art and food and drink from local producers. We received a fantastic response from the community to take part in this, from both local start-ups to more established names, and feel this will be a unique offering within the village.
“For visitors, coming along to the Christmas Village has been made even easier with the introduction of the Alive After Five pilot scheme, which offers free parking in designated car parks from 5pm. I would urge the public to come along, take advantage of this and enjoy the festive atmosphere.”
In addition to the new attractions and Christmas markets, visitors will be pleased to see traditional favourites in the festive events line-up - Christmas tree switch-on on Thursday, November 22, the Trinity Centre Reindeer Parade on Sunday, November 25, the Nativity Scene at St Nicholas Kirkyard from Monday, December 3 to Friday, January 4, and the Friends of Hazlehead Winter Wonderland on Sunday, December 16.
A firm family favourite will be the Christmas lights switch-on parade on Sunday, November 25. The Charlie House Santa Fun Run will get the event underway, with runners dressed as Santa racing down Union Street. A fire and ice themed parade will follow, led by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen and will feature special guests the Sandwick Up Helly-Aa Vikings from Shetland.
The 12 Days of Christmas Wooden Sculptures Trail will also be making a return. Twelve unique and striking totem poles will be located across the city centre from Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 24.
Created by local chainsaw wood carver Gary Shand, the carvings depict the popular carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. 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 Monday, December 31, where revellers can bring in the bells at the open air stage at Schoolhill for the ultimate Aberdeen street party, featuring live music from ABBA tribute band Thank you for the Music and bag pipe rock band Gleadhraich, before the spectacular fireworks display from His Majesty’s Theatre rooftop at midnight.
Full details of the Christmas in Aberdeen events can be found at: www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/christmas