By Megan Berkley
Christmas in Edinburgh is poised to get off to a flying start with a new twist this year as the city enjoys a four-day extravaganza of entertainment and shopping, Sparkle into Christmas, from Thursday 26 – Sunday 29 November.
This new event, made possible with support from Edinburgh Trams and Essential Edinburgh, will celebrate the start of Edinburgh’s Christmas and welcome residents and visitors alike into town as the buses return to Princes Street on Sunday 29 November. ‘Sparkle into Christmas’ is part of Edinburgh Sparkles – the biggest festive campaign the city has ever seen. With a total investment of over £800,000, Christmas in Edinburgh this year encompasses all the traditional favourites alongside an array of exciting new events which will attract people into Scotland’s capital.
Over the four days a wealth of new attractions will rub shoulders with much-loved favourites such as the iconic Edinburgh Wheel, the Winter Wonderland and the Traditional German and Highland markets. From 10 am on the 26th, in a departure from the Light Night and ice show celebrations of previous years, the streets will come alive as the Wheel starts turning, the markets open for business and the city centre is populated with an array of unusual attractions and characters.
At 5.45 there will be a short ceremony at the Christmas tree on the Mound which will also signal the switch on of the thousands of lights throughout Princes Street Gardens. Commenting on the plans for Edinburgh’s Christmas 2009, City of Edinburgh Council’s Lord Provost, Councillor George Grubb, said: “This year the city really has pulled together in a collaboration that means we will have the brightest and best Christmas ever. Sparkle into Christmas will set the scene for six weeks of celebrations that will continue into the New Year.
Edinburgh is a glorious city at any time of the year, but never more so than at Christmas when the city really comes alive in an explosion of light and colour!” Over Thursday 26 and Friday 27 November, the giant Edinburgh Sparkles Snow Globe will be the coolest place in town for snowball fun and a unique photo experience. Tumbellina, an enchanting performance of balletic and acrobatic dancers set inside a giant snow dome, will bring a very special touch of Christmas magic.
The Edinburgh Sparkles Fountains will provide an explosion of light, colour and music with choreographed performances every 15 minutes. The lost elves and their reindeer will be asking the way to the best shopping in town; at 10 feet high, Big Rory the giant Scotsman, will add a celtic flavour; and through the wonder of animatronics, Bjorn the Bear, a lifesize polar bear complete with realistic sounds and movement will be brought to life.
On Saturday 28 November, a new event for Edinburgh’s Christmas is the Homecoming 2009 Art Car Parade featuring vehicles created by artists from all over the UK. A highlight of the Homecoming Finale Weekend, this is sure to be an incredible visual spectacle as the electrifying procession is pushed, pedalled and driven from St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile, down the Mound and on to a stunning stage show finale in St Andrew Square. Visitors to this free event can expect the quirky and the unexpected as the parade will be accompanied by some very unusual travelling companions.
The weekend will culminate with the traditional Nativity Carol Concert and blessing of the Nativity Scene, this year moved to a new location in St Andrew Square Gardens. All are welcome to join Exile Gospel Choir and St Peter’s School Choir to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas at 4 pm on Sunday 29 November.