ARTS AND FEATURES — 09 December 2013

By staff reporter

This years’ 2013 Levenshulme Light’s ‘Switch On’ had a distinctly Irish flavour, as Father Christmas joined local Irish Dancers for an Irish reel. 

Hundreds of local children were entertained by a new Irish dance group called ‘Flick’ formed by Lawrence Hennigan, Roisin Langan and Patrick McKenna. But Father Christmas got the biggest cheer of the night, as he took a break from giving out over 500 free presents to join the group in their performance.  To add to his ‘Green’ creditionals, he ditched his sleigh in favour of a new ‘green’ environmentally friendly ’192′ Stagecoach Bus to arrive in style for the switch on.

Local Councillor James Hennigan said, “Forget ‘Lapland’, this was more like ‘Tapland’.  It was a fantastic event and the Irish Dancers went down a storm with all the locals. We also had Manchester United’s ‘Fred the Red’ mascot, the Intime Taxi Mascot along with Walt Disney’s Minnie and Mickey Mouse entertaining the crowd of around 1,200. Special guests included the Lord Mayor of Manchester and Gorton South MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman along with all the local councillors.

“The local traders have been hosting this event for the last 17 years and it just gets seems to get bigger and bigger.  But I think this is the first time that Father Christmas has hit the dancefloor for a few steps though! It was a great launch to our small Business Saturday weekend and the local community seem to really appreciate how much time and effort is put in by the local businesses to make the event such a brilliant community celebration.”

Levenshulme is home to one of the biggest Irish Community in the UK outside of London.  The Switch On has also had huge involvement from the Irish Business Community.  This year a number of local Irish traders which included the Levenshulme Pub Company and popular Irish Pub – The Horseshoe put their hands in their pockets to help pay for the special free treat to the local children. Other sponsors included Manchester City Council, In time Taxis and the Nawaab.

Declan Mulhern from the Horseshoe who took his son to meet Father Christmas said, “We were delighted to support this fantastic community event on our Village Green.  Just the look on my son’s face whilst meeting Santa was worth it.  Father Christmas hitting the dancefloor and showing off his Irish Dancing skills was funny.  Maybe next year he could dress in green.”

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