You won’t need to travel to the North Pole this Christmas to meet Santa in a winter wonderland– only as far as north Manchester.
Thanks to the magic of a snow fountain, a Christmas card-like scene is guaranteed for events in Cheetham and Moston district centres.
St Dunstan's Green in Moston will exert a magnetic pull on Saturday 8 December when it is transformed into the North (Manchester) Pole for the afternoon.
Between 4pm and 5pm Santa, accompanied by genuine huskies and somewhat less authenic dancing polar bears, will be on hand to welcome visitors to the snowy scene. Entertainment includes a traditional singalong with Blackley Brass Band, a choir, and Moston Lane's annual Christmas lights switch on.
Before that Cheetham's Irish Word Heritage Centre, on Queen's Road, will get the Yuletide makeover treatment on Thursday 6 December.
Santa and his huskies will be appearing between 4.30 and 6pm in an event which culminates with the simultaneous lighting up of a giant Christmas tree at the centre and the illuminations along Cheetham Hill Road's vibrant shopping parade.
Other parts of North Manchester are also getting well and truly into the festive spirit.
Heaton Park's farm centre plays host to the park's Christmas Fair on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December (11am-4pm both days). The Grade I-listed Heaton Hall throws open its door for free guided tours, mulled wine and mince pies.
Boggart Hole Clough's Carols In The Park event promises a medley of Christmas favourites plus mince pies, mulled wine and other seasonal treats. Meet at the visitor centre in Charlestown Road on Friday 7 December. The event lasts from 6.30-8pm.
Harpurhey Market hosts a festive fun day from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 8 December. Ten prize Christmas hampers will be up for grabs for lucky shoppers.
City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: "North Manchester is really celebrating Christmas in style this year. With so much going on across the area, you'd have to be Scrooge not to get into the festive spirit."
Other events in the area this Christmas include:
- Herristone Park Christmas Party, Herristone Park, Crumpsall - Sunday 2 December 1-3pm: carols, stalls, raffles and Santa's grotto
- Christmas Lunch and Carols, North Manchester Sixth Form College and North City Library - Tuesday 11 December 12noon-1pm (Christmas lunch £2.95, three-course lunch £4.85)
- Manchester Art Treasures and Christmas Lights Tour - giving North Manchester 'culture vultures' the opportunity to combine visiting the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery with an after-dark tour of the city centre's spectacular lights.
Roger Williams, tel: 0161 234 3275