FAMILIES in Altrincham were treated to an afternoon of bands, dancers, entertainers and puppeteers in a spectacular Lantern Parade around the town centre.

Bollin Primary and Stamford Park Junior schools attended and carried lanterns they made earlier in the week, a troupe from Cardwells Theatre School danced their way around the route, while Aura Music Academy’s brass ensemble provided a traditional touch with carols and Christmas songs.

The parade was organised by Altrincham Unlimited, produced by Chester-based artist Russell Kirk and led with gusto by Samba band Tucano. It included illuminated puppets and street entertainers and ended with a festive singalong in Stamford Square, led by The Music Place choir.

The Lantern Parade came two weeks after the Christmas lights switch-on. For the past few years Altrincham Unlimited have hosted a mini-Lantern Parade as part the lights switch-on day, but as it became such a popular event the team decided to take the parade further around Altrincham to involve as many of the town as possible.

Altrincham Unlimited Communications Manager Linda Roy said: “Following Altrincham’s well-documented resurgence over the past few years, and in particular the huge increase in visitor numbers in the run-up to Christmas last year, we felt the time was right to separate the Lantern Parade and Christmas Lights Switch-On events, and give each a full day in its own right.

“This enabled us to develop a separate identity for each event and really boost the cultural offer in Altrincham this Christmas. The town centre was packed on Switch-On day and the atmosphere was amazing, while extending the Lantern Parade route allowed us to include much more of the town. Working with professional artists and puppeteers took the whole event to another level, making for a truly magical afternoon.

“There plenty more to come; Santa’s Grotto will be popping up again next Saturday, the Alt. Great British Christmas Markets are open every Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday, you can get creative with wreath-making and other festive workshops and with many new shops, cafés and restaurants having opened their doors in the past few months, excellent Christmas shopping and food and drink is a given. Altrincham continues to go from strength to strength and there’s no better time than Christmas to enjoy everything our town has to offer.”