A Christmas Family Festival will be held alongside Sleeping Beauty at the ECHO arena
A WINTER wonderland will unfold on the Liverpool waterfront this Christmas.
The Liverpool Christmas Family Festival will surround the ECHO arena’s first panto, Sleeping Beauty, performed in a 3,000-seat big top next to the complex.
Visitors to Kings Dock will be able to soak up the festive spirit with attractions including Santa’s grotto, children’s funfair rides, Christmas “fun house” and a Christmas Cracker Show.
There will also be a bandstand and licensed restaurant while the ECHO wheel will take on a yuletide sparkle.
At the heart of the festival will be the venue’s inaugural panto and the stars of Sleeping Beauty – written, produced and directed by panto expert David Lee – were in the city yesterday to help launch the 2012 event.
They include award-winning Coronation Street baddie Andrew Lancel as the evil wizard Carabose, Bread star Jonathon Morris as Puddles the Jester, children’s favourite FiFi Forget-me-Not who plays Fairy FiFi, panto dame veteran Peter Thorne as Queen Hilda and 23-year-old Gemma Brodrick – who was chosen from dozens of hopefuls – as Princess Briar Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty herself.
Andrew Lancel said: “No one is doing this, this has never happened before. There’s a heated big top and then there’s the stuff that’s outside.
“There’s going to be a funfair, there’s going to be a Christmas show outside, carols, there’s going to be a market and steam trains – it’s going to be absolutely amazing and it’s all going to be linked up with Liverpool One and the Albert Dock so the whole waterfront will become a festival with this panto smack in the middle of it.
“That’s why I’m doing it. Because Liverpool loves outdoor events and loves Christmas and it’s going to be very special.”
Entrance to the festival will be free for people with pantomime tickets and £5 per person for other visitors. Santa’s grotto is £5 and the funfair rides will be £2 each.
Sleeping Beauty and the Family Festival run from December 14 to January 6.