Waterford city will light up with Christmas cheer as Winterval, Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, kicks off this Saturday (23 November). Arriving at Winterval at 4.15pm to meet the public, Santa will help the Mayor of Waterford City & County Council Cllr. John Pratt turn on the city’s Christmas lights at 5pm. WLR will broadcast the event live with music provided by Brass & Co at John Roberts Square.
Attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, Winterval runs from 23 November to 23 December with over 60 free and ticketed events.
Our very own Festival Director Tommie Ryan said: “We are delighted to welcome Santa to Waterford city on Saturday to celebrate the start of Winterval and to help the Mayor Cllr. John Pratt switch on the Christmas lights. Santa will be ready to meet, shake hands and pose for selfies with all the girls and boys who have come out to see him. We invite everyone to come down to Waterford city on Saturday as it is sure to be an exciting evening full of Christmas cheer.
“As Ireland’s Christmas capital, Waterford city will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland with over 60 free and ticketed events on offer every weekend right up to 23 December. Visitors will be enchanted by the brand-new interactive Wizards + Dragons exhibition at Waterford City Hall and the magical Santa’s Grotto experience in Choristers Hall. Pop your skates on and take to the 600sqm of real ice at Winterval On Ice on Bolton Street. If it is the perfect Christmas gift you are after, then come on down to the Garter Lane Christmas Crafts Fair or the Christmas markets and pop-up shops at Arundel Square and Cathedral Square. There really is something for everyone to enjoy.”
Further highlights include the iconic big wheel, Waterford Eye at Merchants Quay and a brand-new 3D music and lights show for Winterval Illuminates taking place every evening at Cathedral Square. Ireland’s renowned street theatre company, Spraoi will put on a never-before-seen free festive wonderland Spraoi na Nollag at Constitution Square with magical creatures coming to life between 5pm–8pm.
Visitors can journey through the heart of Winterval on the Winterval Express Train and Horse Drawn Sleigh, and Santa’s Giant Post Box will be at The Applemarket, with special shows on Saturdays and Sundays during Winterval from Waterford Academy of Music & Art.
Tommie added: “Through the support of Waterford City & County Council, along with our sponsors, stakeholders, local businesses, volunteers, and the general public, Winterval is made possible.”