Hundreds flock to see Santa turn on Kingston’s christmas lights


Live reindeer joined santa in his grotto.


By Rachel Hur

Christmas shopping season has arrived as Kingston’s very own Santa Claus greeted a huge crowd as he switched on the Christmas lights yesterday.

Hundreds of visitors flocked into Kingston market place and streets outside Bentall Shopping Centre to enjoy the first day of the town’s free special festive events.

The Christmas lights switch-on got a massive countdown from the eager crowd before the jolly Santa pushed the lever to unveil the dazzling decorative lights.

Mother-of-two Kingston resident Laura Johnson came with her children to enjoy the events and said: “It’s only November and we can really feel the Christmas spirit. It’s amazing how many people have come out tonight to enjoy themselves.

“The town has done incredibly to prepare all these events and now we can really enjoy our late evening Christmas shopping!”

Mrs Johnson said the highlight of her day was taking her children, Ollie and Sara, to see a real  reindeer in Santa’s Grotto and taking a photo with Santa Claus himself.

“It was a bit awkward when Ollie asked Santa for his own Pokemon for Christmas!” she said.

Alice Cudson, 23, a Kingston University student volunteering in the event, said:

 “It’s great to do something for the community and to see so many people turn up is a real surprise.

“A lot of organisers worked hard to put the event in place so I am delighted for them.”

107.8 Radio Jackie broadcasted the evening’s proceedings live from their truck where families gathered to watch spectacular performances and competitions.

The pick of the entertainment was performer Phoenix the fire eater, aka Kat Stainton, who wowed the crowd with her amazing tricks with burning flames!

The Kingston Christmas Market is open daily from 10am to 7pm and until late on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until January 5.

Late night shopping is possible every evening with The Bentall Centre open until 8pm and as late as 9pm on Thursdays until Christmas Eve.

In continuation of the festive theme, The Rose Theatre will be staging an event of circus and storytelling in a family-friendly production ‘The Snow Gorilla’, from  November 29 2013 until January 5 2014.

The cast of the production made a surprise visit to Old London Road at yesterday’s event to join the crowd in the festive fun.

Visit or call 0844 4482 1556 to buy tickets for the show.

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