Hull's Christmas celebrations begin with festive Whitefriargate entertainers
WEEKEND shoppers were surprised to see Christmas puddings rollerskating down busy Whitefriargate, marking the start of Hull's festive celebrations.
A snow queen on stilts, a juggling elf and plenty of buskers were also present to get shoppers into the festive spirit.
A range of colourful Christmas characters will be on the street for the next four "Festive Saturdays" before the big day itself.
Terry Geraghty, portfolio holder for culture and leisure at Hull City Council, said: "We want to bring more life into the city centre, particularly the Old Town, and lift the doom and gloom.
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"With the events we have planned, it will be one of the best Christmases in Hull for years. We want to create a real family atmosphere."
The first Festive Saturday was launched at the by Michael Wood, town crier for the East Riding.
To cheers from the crowd, he said: "Each Saturday, from now until Christmas, Hull's Old Town will come alive.
"Shoppers will experience a variety of sights, sounds and smells to get you into the Christmas spirit."
Four new "busk stops" have been added to the Old Town, where performers will be entertaining Christmas shoppers.
On Saturday, Lewand Akrawi, 16, was playing guitar and singing to passing shoppers.
"It is brilliant to have more places for people to busk," he said.
Father Christmas also arrived at Prince's Quay shopping centre on Saturday, after a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the city centre.
Cameron Walton, eight, joined Santa on his sleigh as they rode from Hull New Theatre to the shopping centre, before visiting him in the grotto.
His mum Clare Danks, of Hedon, said: "He absolutely loved it. He was waving to everybody along the way and shouting, 'ho, ho ho'.
The Festive Saturdays are part of a range of Christmas celebrations, which include a traditional Victorian Christmas event, a Nativity street play and a festive craft fair and market.
The city's Christmas lights will be switched on this Thursday by Hull's Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell.
Councillor Geraghty said: "I am really excited about everything that is going on, especially seeing the faces of the young children as they enjoy all the events have to offer."