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Winter cheer spreads across County Durham

Published November 21, 2022 9.57am

Communities across County Durham can make the most of some free festive fun this winter.

Winter Wonders

Students from Castleside School creating their elves with community arts officer, Laura Brenchley.

We are offering a series of free events and workshops as part of a Winter Wonders programme, running until February 2023.

Supported by funding from our Towns and Villages programme, it will see 12 towns hosting a series of art workshops, street performances and installations. As well as supporting local events, it is hoped it will help to create vibrant communities and bring residents together.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "There is much to look forward to across County Durham this winter, with our Winter Wonders programme set to light up so many communities.

"It is important that we continue to work together to offer more cultural opportunities to our residents and help bring people together. The winter can be a tough time for many people, particularly this year given the economic climate, so the chance to come together and enjoy some festive fun at no cost is more important than ever."

In Consett, artist Claire Ford is working with local schools to help them create their own Christmas elves. These will go on display in local shops, which will be creating an elf trail for families in the town.

In Peterlee and Newton Aycliffe, The Barn is running workshops to create window displays around the winter wonderland theme. These will be unveiled to coincide with the towns' Christmas lights switch-on events, on Saturday 26 November, and will remain in place throughout December for families and visitors to enjoy.

Spark! will also bring its unique brand of illuminated street performances to the Christmas light switch-on events in Seaham (Friday 25 November), as well as Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor (Saturday 26 November).


Chester-le-Street's Christmas light switch-on, which is also being held on 26 November, will feature performances by local singers The Samba Sisters and various street artists. The event, organised by Chester-le-Street AAP and AH Events, will feature the work of local school children who are currently making recycled Christmas wreaths for the occasion.

In Durham City, we have partnered with Durham Markets to offer free craft workshops for children and their families. Mad Alice Theatre will also be entertaining visitors to the Christmas market on Saturday 3 December.

Meanwhile, we are also working with Jack Drum Arts which will be delivering a special winter light parade in Crook on New Year's Eve. Daisy Arts will be organising a community parade in Bishop Auckland and TCR Hub is creating a parade in Barnard Castle, both in February. 

Winter Wonders is just one of the many cultural programmes taking place in County Durham this year, cementing Durham's position as the 'culture county' and demonstrating our ongoing commitment to culture-led regeneration. This includes delivering key projects within County Durham's shortlisted UK City of Culture bid; progressing major capital projects and raising the county's profile as a fantastic place to live, work, visit and invest.

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