Bristol's getting into the festive spirit
PREPARATIONS for the festive period have begun in earnest in Bristol, with Christmas lights due to be switched on and attractions to open.
Boy band JLS are due to perform to an anticipated crowd of 10,000 fans tomorrow when they switch on the Christmas lights at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway.
Broadmead and Cabot Circus will be switching on their Christmas lights with theatre and magical performance on Friday.
Broadmead's German market is also back, as well as an eco-friendly skating rink, which is this year located at The Podium.
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Inside The Galleries, the popular Santa's Grotto will also open, giving children the opportunity to meet Father Christmas.
The Harbourside is also due to welcome a 100-year-old Spiegeltent. The temporary venue will pop up in Waterfront Square for three weeks before Christmas, from November 30 to December 20.
Spiegeltents were hugely popular in the 19th and 20th century in Belgium as travelling ballrooms.
Bristol's Christmas Spiegeltent will play host to a variety of events, from comedy to music and cabaret.
The venue, built from mahogany dappled mirrors and coloured glass, will also include a secret Santa's grotto with a Spiegel twist, three-course dining from Mi Casa and a themed photo booth.
Steve Symons, producer for Christmas Spiegeltent, said: "We are hugely excited to be bringing such a unique and beautiful venue to Bristol for the festive season. The calibre of performers is extremely high for such an intimate venue."
Thousands of fans are expected to pack into a specially constructed arena in the car park of The Mall, Cribbs Causeway tomorrow night.
JLS will perform an exclusive set to celebrate the switching on of the complex's Christmas lights and the opening of its Winter Wonderland.
A total of 10,000 tickets have been made available by Mall bosses with fans asked to make a £2 minimum donation to Bristol Children's Hospital Grand Appeal.
On Friday, Peter Pan will take time out from rehearsing at the Bristol Old Vic to join Cirque Bijou in a unique show combining entertainment, performance and acrobatics as the city centre's lights are switched on.
The entertainment begins at 6pm with a procession of 150 theatre school children led by the Lost Boy Drummers. Singing sea shanties by torchlight the group will make their way from The Galleries, through Quakers Friars and into Cabot Circus for the grand finale.
As the procession reaches Cabot Circus, crowds will be treated to an acrobatic spectacle before the Christmas decorations are illuminated.
Kevin Duffy, Cabot Circus centre director, said: "Bristol Old Vic is renowned for its imaginative performances and our Christmas lights event will feature Peter Pan but with a creative, urban twist – instead of green tights, he'll be wearing a hoodie. It is set to provide real excitement and theatre in the heart of the city, for all the family."
John Hirst, operations director at Destination Bristol, added: "Christmas in Bristol is set to go off with a bang this year with a fantastic event – ending with the Christmas lights being switched on across the city centre. Bristol is the place to be this Christmas."