Christmas celebrations will light up Oldham

LIVE performances, a parade, brass bands and a splash of yuletide cheer will all be part of Christmas celebrations to light up Oldham this year.

The council has organised a fun programme of free family events to get everyone in the festive spirit.

The authority’s leader, Cllr Arooj Shah, said: “These events capture the spirit of the season as well as providing fun and free activities for families, as we know cash can be tight for some.

“I’m so proud that we as a council can work with performers from across the country, local community groups and arts organisations alike to put on a truly special events programme for people of all ages to enjoy.”

On Saturday, November 18, the annual Oldham Christmas Parade will provide an afternoon of festive cheer and community spirit.

Starting at midday at Old Town Hall, Santa and friends will make their way through the town centre and High Street. The parade will include more than 200 talented local performers and community group members providing dance and music.

These will include Dobcross Silver Band, fusion music performers Global Grooves Bloco and the Oldham Scottish Pipe Band.

But there will be no live animals involved in this year’s parade.

Cllr Peter Dean, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, said: “We’ve decided not to have real reindeer in our Christmas parade this year.

“While the event was very popular, times have changed so this year we’re putting on a parade that will enable everyone to participate just as they have in the past – but with no live animals.”

The celebrations will continue well into the afternoon, with a heap of festive entertainment planned.

There will be meet and greet opportunities with Santa and his elf, an operatic Christmas tree and Musical Ruth and their jingle jangle piano all baubled and tinseled up.

To round the day off, the annual Christmas Lights Switch On Show returns at the historic Old Town Hall from 5.30pm.

A spectacular outdoor show, The Wrong Reindeer, has been created by Oldham Theatre Workshop especially for the event.

The tale tells the story of a donkey who dreams of being a reindeer and a child who has lost the magic of wishing. As winter sets in, an adventure begins that will remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas.

The show will be followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights and tree, before a festive fireworks display will light up Oldham’s skyline.

Then, on Saturday, December 9, people can head into the town centre and listen to music from 11am to 3pm as local and national brass bands come together to provide the perfect soundtrack to your Christmas shopping.

There will be music from bands including Grimethorpe Colliery Band stars of ‘Brassed Off’, Fat Cat Brass, Oldham Music Service and more.

Alongside this, the Heritage, Libraries and Arts Service are hosting an array of events, including showings of The Wrong Reindeer, a 20th anniversary screening of the hilarious film ELF, and hosting a Christmas Books and Bobs Fair.

For more information about Oldham’s Christmas events, visit www.oldham.gov.uk/christmas

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