busCHRISTMAS MAGIC won’t be conveyed by Santa in his sleigh in Sunderland this year – he’s decided to go by bus instead.

An exciting programme of events in the city has been created for the run-up to the festive season, thanks to a joint partnership between Experience It Here! Sunderland’s Business Improvement District, events company Sunderland Live and Sunderland City Council.

And to ensure the message hits home the events are being supported by a major marketing campaign across the region, including wrapping buses with the eye-catching branding.

The partners have worked with Sunderland University, Nexus and Go North East to create the attention-grabbing initiative which will help expose the brand to thousands of shoppers and visitors to the city.

The three Sunderland Connect 700 buses which will be sporting the festive livery stop at all of the city’s major attractions including The Aquatic Centre, National Glass Centre, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, and the Bridges shopping centre.

This means that not only will they be seen by thousands of shoppers in the weeks ahead but also that buses will be transporting visitors around the city so they don’t miss any of the festive magic.

Events planned include street entertainment and two weekends (Dec 11 – 13 and 18 – 20) where key buildings across the city will be illuminated with themed projections.

A daily competition will be run from various locations across the city centre from Dec 1 until Christmas Eve, where a special Advent door will spring up with the opportunity for shoppers to win prizes.

Other plans include a World Christmas celebration from December 4 – 6, giving visitors the opportunity to experience how the festive season is marked across the globe through food, arts and crafts and entertainment.

A Family Santa Run and a Chocolate Santa Run along with the screening of festive films in a covered, outdoor heated cinema in Mowbray Park are also taking place, with the park welcoming Santa’s reindeer from December 19 to 22.

“Our Christmas branding and our festive fairy will be seen everywhere, making people aware of what a magical Christmas we’re creating in Sunderland,” said Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID.

“And by putting her on bus livery there will literally be thousands of people each day seeing what an exciting place Sunderland is going to be to visit throughout December.”

Chris Alexander, Chief Operating Officer at Sunderland Live said: “The Christmas in Sunderland branding is really special this year and we’re looking forward to seeing it on the move as the Christmas buses take to the streets.

Our Christmas programme is bigger than ever and we can’t think of a better way for people to travel to the many events we have planned over the festive period.”

For further information on all the activities visit sunderlandlive.co.uk