Belfast Telegraph

Little Kingdom's Ben and Holly helps Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon and Santa light up Belfast

By Staff Reporter

Thousands of excited families packed into Belfast city centre on Saturday night to see the official Christmas tree lit up in the grounds of City Hall.

Two popular television characters - Little Kingdom's Ben and Holly - joined Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon and other guests, including Santa Claus himself.

They were joined by CBeebie's greatest gardener Mr Bloom and his friends, plus Cinemagic's young singing star Zena Donnelly.

Cool FM presenter Pete Snodden acted as compere, encouraging the crowd to show their delight as each new arrival took to the stage.

The crowd participated in a countdown before the Lord Mayor made the lights come on.

Ms Mallon said: "It was a fantastic night of entertainment and everyone did a great job.

"It is magical to be on stage and see the thousands of families joining in the excitement."

But Belfast was not the first place in Northern Ireland to light-up for Christmas - Ballymena beat them to it on Thursday night.

Saturday also saw the Christmas Continental Market open for business.

The popular attraction in front of City Hall now attracts hundreds of thousands each year to the stalls selling everything from hog burgers to home-made gifts.

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