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Christmas carnival brings festive feeling back to Belfast as city centre’s only Santa comes to town

The sound of sleigh bells will be heard down Royal Avenue this weekend, as CastleCourt Shopping Centre brings its Santa Parade back for 2021.

Of course, there’s only one Santa Claus and he is headed to CastleCourt this Christmas, taking his place as the only Santa experience in the city centre this year.

To give him the welcome he deserves, he will be paraded down Royal Avenue in his sleigh alongside his North Pole elves, reindeer and plenty of familiar faces including Disney princesses and characters from Frozen and Toy Story, from 12pm this Saturday 20 November.

Hosted by U105’s Frank Mitchell, the free family event is the first parade since 2019, after CastleCourt first launched the festivities in 1990 and the shopping centre has pulled out all the stops for visitors to enjoy a seasonal experience with Santa in the Winter Wonderland Grotto.

Leona Barr, Centre Manager at CastleCourt says they are so looking forward to opening Santa’s Grotto and kicking off the welcome parade:

“The CastleCourt Santa Parade has been a seasonal highlight since we started it 31 years ago. It brings out the best of Belfast, with lots of smiles and celebrations as we parade Santa to his Grotto in the shopping centre.

“It is extra special to have the only Santa in the city centre this year, especially when the country was in lockdown for Christmas last year. We will be starting our celebrations with free face-painting and circus entertainers on the mall from 11am, through to 3pm and it will be a wonderful opportunity for everyone to safely be a part of.”

CastleCourt’s Santa Parade will dance down Royal Avenue from 12noon on Saturday 20 November, ending at CastleCourt Shopping Centre’s front doors.

Santa’s Grotto is available to book online only and is open from 20 November until Christmas Eve. Visits are charged at £6.50 per child, which includes a chat with Santa and an age appropriate gift, photographs with Santa can be purchased separately.

Santa’s Grotto at CastleCourt Shopping Centre is open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm, and Sunday 1pm – 5pm.

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