‘Stokie’ Christmas event brings thousands to Hanley for lights switch on

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Thousands of people packed in to Hanley town centre to mark the beginning of the Christmas season.

Their Christmas Light Switch On event, A Proper Stokie Christmas, started at 3.30pm.

The festive activities and performances ran through past 7pm.

Santa Claus and two of his reindeer made a special appearance at the beginning of the afternoon.

There were opportunities for Santa selfies, Elfie selfies and lots of sweeties up for grabs. Christmas certainly came early in Stoke-on-Trent.

As well as Santa, Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers also made an appearance to take photos with Star Wars fans.

There was also free face painting, poi artists, magicians and balloon modelling, with roaming poets citing Christmas poetry.

From 4pm, seven local primary schools took to the main stage to perform a number of fan-favourite Christmas songs, including Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas.

The Deaflinks Choir joined on stage to ‘sing’ some Christmas songs in sign language, from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer to I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

It was a great opportunity to raise awareness of the charity as well as pick up some sign language along the way.

Local singer/songwriter Lissy Taylor performed a stunning version of fellow Stokie Robbie Williams’ Angels.

And those who sung the loudest bagged themselves a Lindt advent calendar!

The Potteries Christmas extravaganza was not short of special guests, seeing the world’s best Elvis impersonator Gordon Hendricks, alongside local panto star Jonny Wilkes.

The Lord Mayor officially opened Stoke-on-Trent’s Winter Wonderland.

This is the third year running the event has been held at Lichfield Street.

This year it is bigger than ever, with a covered ice rink, fairground rides, food stalls and a bar.

The honour of switching on the Christmas lights in the city centre went to a special young man, Kieran Evans.

Kieran is the younger brother of Ryan Evans, who died earlier this year at Westport Lake. He was given the great responsibility of lighting up the city.

As the tree illuminated, it even snowed from the front of the main stage.

A Proper Stokie Christmas was had by all, and the event marked the beginning of ‘late night shopping’ in the city centre.

With less than six weeks to go, shoppers will need all the shopping time they can get!

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