X Factor star and Blue Peter's Zoe light up Belfast
Published 21/11/2007 | 07:12
Thousands of people lined the streets around Belfast's City Hall last night for the annual Christmas lights switch-on.
Chart-topper Shayne Ward and Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon joined Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers for the switch-on, which took place at 7.30pm.
Prior to the lights being turned on, X Factor winner Shane treated the spectators to a performance of four songs, including his new hit single Breathless.
He told the screaming crowd: "It's an absolute pleasure to be here in Belfast.
"Thank you so much Belfast, I'm having a fantastic time and you guys have helped make it all the more special for me.
"It's an honour for me to be switching on the Christmas lights."
Following a countdown, the lights and decorations were turned on by the trio, who wished everyone a happy Christmas.
As the lights adorning the trees in the grounds of the City Hall dazzled for the first time this Christmas, the Belfast Wheel, which attracted a large queue of people, re-opened.
The stalls in the continental market also opened, selling festive food and crafts.
Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers said: "It was a fantastic evening with one of the biggest crowds I have seen at the City Hall.
"The entertainment was marvellous and it was great to see so many mums, dads, grandparents and children have a good time.
"Everyone really enjoyed Shayne Ward and Zoe Salmon and it just goes to show that Belfast can compete with any other city in the world when it comes to Christmas festivities."
The McErlean family travelled from Dungannon to Belfast for last night's switch-on.
Peter, Damaries and their three daughters Leon (14), Rashall (7) and six year old Shannon joined thousands of others who braved the cold weather.
Damaries said: "I watched Shayne on X Factor and we came up to Belfast last year to see him. It's a good night out for us and the girls all had a great time."
North Belfast woman Deborah Iris brought her daughter Ashleigh (10) to the City Hall. She said: "We bring Ashleigh every year but it's a bonus that Shayne was here to sing a few songs."