A SENSATIONAL Shipley Christmas kicks off this weekend with traditional celebrations including a magical pantomime parade to toast the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz.

Sing-a-longs, dance and plenty of festive fun is promised in Market Square and Well Croft on Saturday when Rudolph the Reindeer will help Santa Claus guide his huge sleigh into town with Dorothy, the Lion, Wicked Witch and Wizard in tow.

And throughout the day Father Christmas will be in his grotto at Shipley Indoor Market.

"It should be a wonderful day with so much going on," said indoor market manager Heidi McKenna.

"We really try to get the magic going for everyone and just hope everyone comes and has a good time."

There will also be Blackpool donkey rides and Marshall’s fairground attractions at the event, which starts at 11am with Santa's first Sleigh parade of the day which will be repeated at intervals until 5pm.

And the following weekend Father Christmas will be back in his Wizard of Oz grotto as Shipley hosts its seasonal food and gift market on Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13.

Fair Trade produce, local arts, holly wreaths, seasonal plants, traditional sweets, chutneys and savoury pies will all be piled high on the market stalls.

Shoppers will be serenaded on both days by the Phoenix New Orleans Jazz Band, which will be joined by the Salvation Army Brass Band on the Saturday.

Shipley town centre manager Yvonne Crossley said: "It's going to be a fantastic couple of weekends.

"There's going to be lots going on and we've also got the Nativity Trail around shops in the town, plus a colouring competition to win a bicycle. There's definitely something for everyone."

Pictures for the colouring competition, organised by Shipley Christians together, are available from shops throughout town. Children are invited to follow a special route and spot bears hidden in shop windows decorated by local school children.

Meanwhile, Saltaire's famous Living Advent Calendar began in earnest with the illuminating of a magnificent seven decorated windows to celebrate the countdown to Christmas last night.

Co-ordinator Kate Thompson said: "This year we had so many Saltaire residents wanting to take part that for the opening night we have seven windows lit up at once.

"Some shops have already put their displays on over the weekend and it really is a great celebration across the village."

From now on it will be one window lit up every evening until Christmas Day.