A 14-metre high Snow Queen is to lead the Capital into Christmas this year, it has been revealed.
The programme for Edinburgh’s winter festival has been unveiled, and will also see the city centre visited by Zumba-ing Santas, ice sculptures – and the return of the popular ice rink.
The festival kicks off on November 24 with a Light Night beginning in George Street with the projection of giant festive images onto the buildings. Street performers will then lead spectators down to the Mound for a frost and fire show, where the giant Snow Queen will be topped by an aerial performer and surrounded by fireworks, as the lights are lit on the Norwegian Christmas Tree gifted by the people of Hordaland.
The procession will then move to St Andrew Square for a stage show featuring song and dance.
The six-week programme will also include a weekend of celebrations around St Andrew’s Day, with a display of ice sculptures and a fire-themed finale on the Castle Esplanade.
Santa will arrive on a reindeer-drawn sleigh on December 3, making his way down Princes Street to East Princes Street Gardens. He will then make regular visits to collect his post and meet visitors.
The Great Edinburgh Santa Run will take place in West Princes Street Gardens, complete with a Zumba warm-up for the thousands of costumed participants.
Nickie Gott, managing director of the Edinburgh’s Christmas producers She’s Gott It!, said: “There is no better place than Edinburgh at Christmas. The city is so magical at this time of year and we have pulled together a brilliant programme that will amaze and delight the whole family.”
Lord Provost, Councillor George Grubb, added: “Edinburgh is one of the most popular places for Christmas shopping and enjoying festive celebrations. Visitors and residents can reflect on the true meaning of Christmas while enjoying a great programme of events and attractions.”
The traditional markets and funfair will be back in place, and after initial doubts, the ice rink will be back for another year thanks to financial support from Essential Edinburgh and a mystery hotelier who will cover any losses.
Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “Essential Edinburgh felt it was important to make a significant investment to support the Christmas activities - and we are delighted to play a big part.”
The Edinburgh’s Christmas events, which are sponsored by the Evening News, run until January 4. See www.edinburghschristmas.com.