LIVERPOOL’S festive season is now well underway following the illumination of the city’s iconic Christmas tree. The city was brought to life with confetti, snow, live music, theatrical and aerial performances and street entertainment to officially mark the start of Christmas. Thousands of people gathered in Paradise Street to see the lighting of Liverpool ONE’s 30 metre Christmas tree and celebrate the start of the One Magical City calendar of magical moments. There was a special appearance from Father Christmas on the roof of John Lewis, together with a pyrotechnic display and Christmas songs. The impressive tree was brought to life in a spectacle inspired by The Night Before Christmas. The immersive and entertaining show featured dazzling lights, special effects and aerial performers and was created by the Liverpool Empire’s Creative Learning Team. Christmas came to life with giant candy canes, Jingle Bells and robins walked the streets, posing for selfies with well-wishers and joining in with the glittering atmosphere. Children’s favourite and the original DreamWorks Shrek was also spotted as the Christmas celebrations got underway. In a UK first, DreamWorks Lights – a stunning walkthrough lantern experience for all ages – will launch at St George’s Hall on November 26th. On South John Street, families were joined by panto stars from Merseyside’s various theatre stages, including former Hollyoaks actress and I’m A Celebrity star Jorgie Porter, for a series of special performances. Stars from Liverpool’s Empire, Playhouse, Epstein and Unity Theatres were among those giving fans an exclusive sneak peek of what is coming up this season. The team behind Liverpool’s Ice Festival, now found at the Pier Head, also created two incredible ice sculptures for members of the public to take pictures of, including the city’s famous Liver Bird. Donna Howitt, Marketing Director at Liverpool ONE, said: “We are absolutely delighted to once again mark the start of the Christmas period in the city. There is no better way to get Christmassy than seeing the reaction on people’s faces, feeling entertained and enjoying such a spectacular show with their loved ones. “Christmas is such a magical time of year for so many people, especially our youngest visitors. Whether it was seeing Father Christmas or catching a glimpse of Shrek, we hope that tonight created plenty of happy memories for all our guests.” Chris Brown, from Marketing Liverpool, said: “Our aim was to start One Magical City in style, and tonight absolutely did that. We want Christmas in Liverpool to be about creating one-off, memorable experiences and you could see tonight how much people loved it. The mix of family activities, big surprises and wintry events has set the tone for the next six weeks.” Natalie Flynn, from Liverpool Empire Theatre’s Creative Learning Team, added: “We were delighted to be invited by Liverpool ONE to officially mark the start of Christmas in our city, and we wanted to create something even bigger and better than last year. “Working together, we were able to engage the local community in theatre by taking the magic out of its traditional space, bringing it into the heart of the city centre.” Visitors to Liverpool can also enjoy a new dimension to the festive fun by downloading Liverpool ONE’s new Tree Fairies App. The app allows iPhone users to find one of the fairies flying around the tree, name them and then share with their friends across social media. Children’s rides and Christmassy treats return to Chavasse Park until January 5th.