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Ardoyne and Bone full of the Christmas spirit

Paul McClusker with Niamh Burns and Paul and Thomas Clarke at the Ardoyne Flax Centre Paul McClusker with Niamh Burns and Paul and Thomas Clarke at the Ardoyne Flax Centre
By Conor McParland

CHRISTMAS bells will ring out across North Belfast this weekend as the Ardoyne and Marrowbone Christmas Festival comes to town.
In partnership with Ardoyne Youth Club, Ardoyne Youth Enterprise (AYE), Ardoyne Association, Ignition and the Flax Trust, the Christmas Festival follows on from a successful summer festival in August.
The free three-day event runs from Friday (December 15) to Sunday (December 17) with something for all the family.
On Friday, the festival gets under way with a Christmas party in Ardoyne Avenue, outside the Flax Centre. Santa will arrive at 6pm to travel around the Bone and Ardoyne in his sleigh before carol singing and the big switch-on from 7pm to 9pm. A snow machine will also be in place – an opportunity to see more of the white stuff should the real snow stay away.
On Saturday, the Flax Centre is the place to be for a Christmas Market, a petting zoo and Santa’s Grotto before one of the highlights of the festival – a drive-in movie showing of the Christmas favourite ‘Home Alone’ at 7pm at the Holy Cross Boys’ school pitch. On Sunday, the festival continues with a treasure hunt, talent show and a family fun day.
Local SDLP Councillor Paul McCusker, who helped organise the festival, is encouraging the local community to come out and get involved in the events.
“After a successful August festival, we decided to push for a similar festival in time for Christmas and we were delighted to get the required funding” he explained.
“We are inviting families and children to come out and enjoy this free event and a weekend full of activities to get you in the mood for Christmas.
“I would encourage people to get involved with the events from Friday right through to Sunday because obviously Christmas time is about spending time with the family.
“Some people struggle with Christmas financially so a free event is ideal for many families coming up to Christmas.
“Hopefully the weather is kind to us. If it stays dry then we will be happy.”
Check out the full programme of events below.

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