Santa and the Peerie Foxes © John Coutts

The cold, yet dry day helped to ensure a huge turnout for Living Lerwick’s Magical Christmas Light Switch-on Parade.

Crowds started to gather around 3pm, with many an expectant little face looking for Santa. He kicked off the parade by arriving at Albert Wharf on the lifeboat to lead it at 3.30pm on Saturday 26th November. The Peerie Foxes nursery bairns had their magic wands and followed behind him aboard beautifully decorated trailers to switch on the Christmas lights with their magic wands as they passed. This year’s Jarl Squad were out in force as part of the parade and the brass band provided lovely Christmas music as the parade progressed.

Crowd at the Market Cross © Market Cross

The parade started at Albert Wharf, travelled up Church Road, turned into Commercial Street, down Burns Walk, along the Esplanade and finished up at the Market Cross, where Santa magically switched on the Christmas tree lights with a few rings of his bell. The Brass Band played Christmas Carols and Santa spoke to the bairns in the crowds. The trailers stood still at the Market Cross so that the crowd got a chance to have a good look at the Peerie Foxes expertly decorated trailers and Christmas costumes. The Jarl Squad were very striking in their outfits.

Christena Irvine, Manager of Living Lerwick said “It’s great to see so many people turn out to this community event. Living Lerwick is all about our community, taking a pride in our town centre and shopping local to keep our money in Shetland which increases employment and feeds more local families than buying from the likes of Amazon. We obviously have a strong community spirit here and despite the temperature, parents took their peerie ones out to see Santa and got involved. After organising it all, you realise just how different we are here. Most other places would employ the services of a celebrity but to us, the most important people are the peerie bairns from our own community – an event like this one could only ever happen in Shetland.”

The Magical Christmas Light Switch-on marks the start of the festive fun. There are also extended opening hours, special offers, small events, a best Christmas window display competition, a Santa’s Grotto and twenty-seven naughty elves creating mischief in shops during December. Full details and updates are listed in the events section of this website and on the Living Lerwick Facebook page.

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