Andrei Lipanov, from ITV’s Dancing on Ice was joined by CBBC favourites Josh and Ellie, for a special Gala Ice Extravaganza to launch the city’s festive Frost Village.
The village, created by Sunderland Business Improvement District, boasts an open air ice rink at Keel Square, as well as a traditional Christmas market with more than 25 stalls selling food, drink, gifts and crafts.
Andrei, who taught celebrities including Clare Buckfield, Heidi Range and Bonnie Langford for the TV show, took to the ice alongside aspiring Wallsend skater, Anna Waters, to launch the site with a special gala performance.
The pair, who specialise in a highly skilled and acrobatic style of skating, were joined by Josh and Ellie, from children’s’ documentary series Ice Stars, as well as the North East Ice Crystals Team and solo skaters Annalise Smith and Chloe Poole.
Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, said: “This is one of the most exciting seasonal events programmes we have ever had in Sunderland and it was fantastic to see Andrei, Anna, Josh, Ellie and all our performers launching the Frost Village in such spectacular style.
“I hope this has inspired the public to come along and have a go themselves.”
Sunderland’s Frost Village will open Sundays to Wednesdays from 10am to 8pm and Thursdays to Saturdays from 10am until 10pm throughout the festive period.
The real open air ice rink will offer daily public skating sessions, as well as a full programme of activities, including skating lessons with Andrei, ice discos and the chance to skate with princesses and super heroes.
The Frost Village will close at 4pm on Christmas Eve and skating sessions for that date must be booked in advance.
Prices for skating start at £6.50 per child and £7.50 per adult, with additional options for private hire.
A Christmas fun fair, with a waltzer, Star Flyer and bumper cars, will also be open from noon daily on the former Vaux Brewery site.
For more information, group bookings or full details of all the events taking place in Sunderland this Christmas visit www.sunderlandchristmas.co.uk.
You can also keep up with Frost Village mascots, Spike and Frostina, by searching for The Frostlings on Facebook and Twitter.