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Plans unveiled for new festive attractions at Union Terrace Gardens as part of Aberdeen Christmas Village

The park's archways could be filled with free displays, one of which being the nativity scene.

Plans have been unveiled to expand this year's Aberdeen Christmas Village into Union Terrace Gardens. Image: Clarke Cooper/DC Thomson
Plans have been unveiled to expand this year's Aberdeen Christmas Village into Union Terrace Gardens. Image: Clarke Cooper/DC Thomson

Festive displays could be heading to Union Terrace Gardens as part of this year’s Aberdeen Christmas Village.

Members of the finance and resources committee met to discuss feedback from last year’s event and plans for its 2023 return.

It was previously revealed that the popular annual festive event would remain on Broad Street but it was hoped it could expand into the city centre park.

Plans for the gardens include hosting a QR code-enabled Christmas sculpture trail and live performances, as well as food and drink vendors.

Festive nativity scene to be protected from vandals

During the meeting, officers unveiled their hopes to bring new festive attractions to Union Terrace Gardens.

They said the park’s archways could be filled with free displays, one of which being the nativity scene.

The arches in Union Terrace Gardens could feature free festive displays as part of this year’s Aberdeen Christmas Village. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

Committee convener, councillor Alex McLellan asked if any particular location had been earmarked for the scene this year.

He was told the arches were the “first consideration” and it could be protected by a glass screen to prevent it from becoming a target for vandals.

The nativity scene had to be moved from St Nicholas Kirkyard to an empty shop unit on Union Street last year after racist graffiti was scrawled on the glass front.

Service manager Matthew Williams said: “After incidents this year it was felt that was a safe approach.”

Ice sculpture request brings laughs to the chamber

Mr Williams also told members that First Bus were keen to work with the council’s events team to provide transport to the Christmas Village.

The Spectra light show in Union Terrace Gardens last month. Image: Paul Glendell/DC Thomson

The move comes after the company offered Spectra visitors one free day ticket to travel to the event which was also hosted in Union Terrace Gardens.

SNP councillor John Cooke also noted the proposals for the gardens.

He then jokingly asked if the council could make provision for a giant ice sculpture of Scotland’s double goal scorer Scott McTominay, which brought laughter to the chamber.

Visitors and businesses praise Aberdeen Christmas Village

The local authority has earmarked £150,000 from the Common Good Fund for the Christmas Village.

It is hoped that event partner Aberdeen Inspired will provide an extra £50,000.

Local stallholders said the Aberdeen Christmas Village was good for their business. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

However, if the money isn’t awarded, the council will have to pay the missing sum or consider putting on a “reduced” event.

This year’s market was hailed as a success, with feedback revealing 88% of visitors said it was either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

Meanwhile, 94% of Curated in the Quad stallholders said the event was good for their business.

The 2023 Aberdeen Christmas Village is expected to return on November 16.

Aberdeen Christmas Village to return – and could extend into Union Terrace Gardens

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