By Jonathan Brown
A giant snow globe stole the show at The Rock’s first ever Christmas lights switch-on in Bury last week.
The huge Christmas globe, which is five metres in diameter, will be used as an alternative Santa’s Grotto and photo opportunity at the shopping and entertainment centre.
Attracting thousands of people to the shopping centre, the event included dancers from the Northern Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a Take That tribute band and The Rock’s talented Street Star performers.
Nikki Kitchen, The Rock’s marketing manager, said: “It has been absolutely brilliant and better than we could have hoped for. We’re really pleased that everyone’s enjoyed themselves.”
Cast members from The Nutcracker performed inside the snow globe before joining the lantern parade which consisted of local school children and Christmas themed entertainers on stilts.
The Jones family and their daughter Poppy had won a competition to lead the parade and were awarded with £200 to spend at The Rock.
A collection for Poppy, who has cerebral palsy which prevents her from walking unaided, followed the switch-on to help to fundraise for the £40,000 operation she needs in America.
“This has been a fantastic evening, which is the start of a fantastic season in Bury celebrating the old and new developments in Bury,”said the Mayor of Bury, Councillor John Byrne.
“The switch-on is a sign of the town’s confidence and of us having the confidence to say that we are going places and making things happen.”
Artificial illuminated reindeers were also unveiled, grazing on the green roof of Costa Coffee, along with an eight metre-high Christmas Tree and street decorations paying tribute to Bury’s cotton and paper industries.
Northern Royal Ballet dancer, 23-year-old Rachael Gillespie, said: “The night had it all and we’re very honoured to be part of it.
“We’ve all had a really good time and it’s been nice to come to the Rock to be part of whole Christmas experience.”
Fellow Nutcracker performer, Joshua Barwick, 19, added that it was touching and nice to see so many children excited for Christmas and that the snow globe also is a great idea as it appeals to adults as well as children.
A Narnia–inspired catwalk show, coinciding with the December release of the third film from the Chronicles of Narnia series along with band Take That Again also warmed the crowd up on what was a wet and windy Thursday night.
Bury resident, Mark Walker, 24, added: “The night’s been really good, there’s loads going on and I definitely think the event has got Bury in the Christmas spirit early.”
Each of the eight finalists of The Rock’s Street Star competition talent also took to the stage, opening voting for the winner of the £1,000 prize on The Rock’s Facebook page.
The Rock has a ten-screen multiplex Vue cinema, a 24-lane bowling and family entertainment centre as well as eight restaurants including Pizza Express, Frankie & Benny’s and Flaming Dragon.
The performances of X Factor-style Street Star performers can be seen and voted on at The Rock’s Facebook page,www.facebook.com/TheRockBury.