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, which is being performed in a 3,000-seat big top next to the arena and conference centre complex.
Visitors to the Kings Dock will be able to soak up the festive spirit with attractions including a Santa’s grotto, bandstand, children’s funfair rides, a Christmas “fun house” and a Christmas Cracker Show.
There will also be a bandstand and licensed restaurant while the Liverpool 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, award-winning Coronation Street baddie Andrew Lancel as evil wizard Carabose, Bread’s 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 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. The whole waterfront will become a festival with this panto smack in the middle.
“That’s why I’m doing it. Because Liverpool loves outdoor events and 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.