What's On: Christmas parades, Armagh piping festival and running with your pooch

Jacqueline McGonigle shares her pick of family friendly events taking place across Northern Ireland this week

Benone Strand, setting for this Sunday's canicross race
Jacqueline McGonigle


Glengormley Lights Switch on and Christmas Market takes place this Saturday. Create a bear at the Christmas Fair Workshop at 1.30pm, 2.45pm or 4pm in Glengormley Pavilion. Tickets must be bought in advance from and are priced at £5 per child, £2.50 per adult and include a visit to Santa's Grotto.


The 25th William Kennedy International Piping Festival at the Market Place Theatre presents a Uilleann Pipes Concert on Sunday. The festival's annual flagship event features six world-renowned masters plus a special showcase of young pipers from across Ireland featuring Louise Mulcahy, Mick O'Brien, Paddy Keenan, Seán McKeon, Seán Óg Potts, Síle Friel. Young pipers showcase – Aoife Smyth, Peter McKenna, Jane Walls, Iarla McMahon & Amy Campbell.


CastleCourt's Christmas parade will return to the streets of Belfast city centre on Saturday. Setting off from Writer's Square at 12 noon, Santa will again lead this year's line-up in his train and sleigh, joined by Mrs Claus and Rudolph the Reindeer. The trio will lead the parade past St Anne's Cathedral along Donegal Street, arriving at Royal Avenue at 12.30pm. Families are invited to follow the parade which will culminate at CastleCourt, where Santa will take up residence in this year's grotto at 1pm.


Do you love running and dogs? Join Dog Trails NI on the stunning Benone Strand this Sunday for a canicross race and a day out your dog will love. There will be a 5k race, and a novice and kids 3k race. 5k race 10am start; 3k race 11am start. Visit for more.


Bangor's BIG Christmas Switch On brings a full day of festive fun this Saturday. The Christmas market returns to the seafront, with over 20 local market stalls selling artisan foods and local crafts. A lantern parade with over 100 lanterns will take you on a journey from Translink to the McKee Clock Arena led by Santa and the Mayor of Ards and North Down. Christmas Lights Switch On McKee Clock Arena 5.30pm followed by a spectacular fireworks display.


Never heard the Ulster Orchestra? Well here's your chance to discover the magic of a full, live orchestra right on your doorstep at the Ardhowen Theatre this Thursday. The Ulster Orchestra brings you Mozart's beautiful Strassburg Concerto. Join star violinist Francesca Dego, conductor Daniele Rustioni and the Ulster Orchestra for a magical and memorable evening.


Humpty Dumpty is brought to the stage in an all singing and dancing interactive production at the Strule Arts Centre on Saturday. Sing along, solve puzzles and meet lots of famous characters.

:: For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what's on near you.

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