THE countdown to Christmas began at The Port Arcades shopping centre in Ellesmere Port at the weekend.
Twinkling lights, a huge Christmas tree and decorative displays in the mall have all heralded the arrival of the festive season.
On Saturday the Plump Pink Fairies entertained shoppers with their unique interpretation of Christmas ballet The Nutcracker, while on Sunday youngsters enjoyed a free festive balloon modelling w orkshop.
A team from Cheshire Falconry was in the centre on Saturday and Sunday, with a selection of owls which shoppers could hold and have their pictures taken with.
Pauline Stevenson, who was visiting the centre on Sunday, said: “I am always so impressed by the lovely decorations and brilliant activities and entertainment here each Christmas. It is fantastic to see the excitement of the children.”
The Plump Pink Fairies added sparkle to the birthday celebrations of Bronia Harasym, who was celebrating her 85th birthday in the centre with her twin daughters who had their birthdays on Friday.
They paid a special visit to the Milk Bar to wish Bronia a happy birthday.
The Port Arcades has lined up a programme of free entertainment which will take place each Saturday and Sunday until December 23.
This Saturday sees the comical Christmas Present Elves take to the mall to provide madcap entertainment. On Sunday a Christmas bear is coming to town to mix and mingle with shoppers.
Late-night shopping gets under way at the centre on Thursdays from November 29, with free car parking after 3pm.