This Saturday will see the arrival of the Northern Lights Lantern Parade and Christmas Celebration in Ashton and the official start of Christmas events across Tameside bringing a fun-packed day with a light and festive sparkle.
The annual event is always welcomed and supported by residents and helps celebrate a sense of community, wellbeing and civic pride in our borough while also supporting our town centres and particularly local businesses.
It is very much about giving everyone across the town, and borough the opportunity to be involved with everything from creating a lantern for the parade or just coming along to watch or simply enjoying the free festive fun taking place.
This year has been a true community team effort with community groups, schools, businesses, artists and entertainers all joining in to make our Christmas celebrations extra special.
On Saturday, the spectacular light-filled community lantern parade will wind its way along the Ashton streets bringing festive cheer and lighting up the route to the market square where the stage and the town's Christmas tree stand.
The lanterns in the parade have all been made by individuals and community groups who have been taking part in free lantern making workshops and helping to create the figurehead of the parade, named the Spirit of the North with Cabasa CIC. Young dancers from Boundary Arts Centre will also be adding their energy to the parade and music will be provided by Ashton Cadet Band to give bring additional festive vibes.
Businesses and artists have also teamed up to wave a magic wand over some 12 retailers this year with the Arty Festive Window Trail which is being launched this weekend providing a great fun and free activity trail for families to explore. Local school children have also been involved working really hard on the amazing decorations which are on the Christmas tree this year.
Tameside Council Assistant Executive Member Culture, Heritage & Digital Inclusivity Cllr Sangita Patel said: "I'm thrilled that the Northern Lights Christmas Celebration event is taking place in Ashton. We really wanted to make this year the best ever. The festive event has always has been a true community effort and this year has been exceptional. Everyone from local businesses to artists, community groups and school children have rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in to help provide a fun and festive family event. Saturday will be a really exciting day and I can't wait to see it all come together. Everyone is welcome and we want as many people as possible to come along and join in the fun."
There's lots going from 3pm, when families can pick up a map from Ashton Library and follow the trail or take photos in the snow globe. The onstage entertainment will start at 5pm in the Market Square and the Lantern Parade will set off from Ashton Old Baths at 5.30pm and wind its way along Ashton's streets ready for the Christmas Light Switch on 6.30pm.
Find out more at www.intameside.co.uk/northernlights