Ashton’s Winter Wonderland
Tuesday 10th December 2013 @ 22:39 by Nigel Skinner

Christmas Market 08.12.13.(full res) 54Christmas Market 08.12.13.(full res) 54


More than 1500 people took part in the magical Winter Wonderland Lantern Parade during the Ashton Christmas Market opening celebrations.

Tameside Council Cultural Services worked with a team of artists and a wide range of organisations, schools and community groups since early October to delivering lantern building workshops and prepare for the vibrant event.

The parade featured all of Tameside’s brass bands, Adamson Military Band and a number of samba and drumming groups. The Scout and Guide Associations were well represented with groups of Rainbows, Beavers, Brownies, Cubs, Guides Scouts and Explorers from across the borough. Also participating were Audenshaw, Flowery Field and Waterloo Primary Schools, Samuel Laycock School, Grafton House Preparatory School, People First Tameside, Next Generation Youth Theatre, New Charter Residents Groups, Mossley Juniors AFC, The Definate Hopefuls, The Tameside Diwali Steering Group, Friends of Haughton Green Library and Age UK.

Representing dancers of Tameside were: Infinity Dance, The Nicholson Academy, Ashton School of Dance, The Sarah England School of Dance, BASE performing Arts, Freedom Dancers and participants from Toe Tappers and Tiny Toes.

The Civic Mayor of Tameside Cllr Joe Kitchen and Mayoress Shirley Kitchen were joined by the Executive Leader Cllr Kieran Quinn,  Chief Executive Steven Pleasant and a large number of elected members. Curious Minds the Arts Council Bridge Organisation for the North West were also represented.

No Eyed Theatre of Mossley provided the stunning mice and Ice Queen section of the parade, costumes which were admired by everyone and will available to see close up on exhibition at Portland Basin Museum during January 2014 alongside Cinderella’s dresses from the Tameside Council pantomime.

Towards the end of the parade were Hyde Little Theatre with their large scale fish lanterns which were also seen in their production “Robinson Crusoe” which played at the Festival Theatre last week, the magnificent illuminated Cinderella’s Coach manufactured from recycled materials by young people from Tameside and finally Father Christmas himself in the sleigh provided by Ashton Rotary Club.

Marshals from the parade collected donations along the 0.75 mile route in aid of the Mayor’s charities and the parade culminated with all of Tameside’s  brass bands playing en masse for the very first time, beautifully playing festive favourites “The Christmas Song”, “Little Donkey” and “Winter Wonderland” after being announced by Tameside’s Town Crier to an audience of 7000.

Assistant Executive Member for Culture, Heritage and Tourism Cllr Jackie Lane said: “Tameside’s Winter Wonderland Parade was a fabulous spectacle, bringing together many of Tameside’s community groups, brass bands and cultural organisations and celebrating cultural involvement across Tameside. For 1500 people to take part in such an event is an amazing achievement and is something we all should be very proud of”.

Stephanie Morris a parade participant said: “The parade was a great opportunity for families, friends and groups to come together as a community and join in with the true spirit of the festive season within Tameside, despite the rain and the dark there was a warmth and sparkle across Ashton last night”.

Ashton Christmas Market got off to a festive flying start on Sunday with record crowds enjoying the opening celebrations.

Don’t miss our picture round up in this week’s Reporter.