If you’ve not yet had your fill of Christmas lights, Chadderton takes centre stage this Friday with their switch-on event at the town hall from 6.30pm surrounded by the Christmas Markets.

The annual Saddleworth Santa Dash sets off on Saturday afternoon – get your best red suit and beard on and join in the fun. There’s more Christmas Markets in Levenshulme and Wigan on Saturday, and the Christmas edition of the Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Altrincham on Sunday.

There is a whole weekend of vegan fun at Victoria Baths as the Vegan Christmas Festival sets up stall(s) with an array of exciting vegan streetfood, a bar with vegan wines and cocktails, vegan stalls selling Christmas gifts, festive live music, vegan winery tastings, Santa’s grotto and charity gift wrapping to support Manchester homeless charity Barnabus.

Here’s what else is happening.

The Frost Fair

A two-day celebration of winter, art and togetherness at The Whitworth. They promote an ethos of come one, come all to celebrate 250 years of the circus in Britain.

The weekend programme of free activities will begin on Saturday 1 December at 11am, with a rotation of live performances.

Fire and LED performers from Manchester’s Travelling Light Circus will light up the event with sensational routines that blend dance and awesome skills, perfectly choreographed to create a show that will amaze and delight all ages.

The Circus House work hard to deliver incredible experiences and will be doing just that for The Frost Fair, bringing their Baby Circus Workshop inside from 11am-1pm, Have-a-Go Circus Skills, live trapeze performances and roaming stilt walkers throughout the weekend.

Other activities include family floristry workshops with Craig Bullock from 11am onwards, and hear about the Heritage Blackpool and Whitworth Collections. The Outdoor Cinema returns to The Art Garden featuring fantasy film Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away, from 4.30pm.

Manchester Food And Drink Festival present street food offers for both vegan and non-vegans such as contemporary Mediterranean and Ottomen inspired cuisine from The Ottomen and wood fired pizzas from Proove. Warm up with a hot chocolate, churros or sample Squawk Brewing Company’s special Frost Fair Ale.

Find that perfect Christmas gift in the artisan crafts markets from local craftsmen and women such as Jo Lavelle Jewellery, The Chorlton Potter and The Glass Gardener and then finish it off with some lovely greenery from Plant Shop Manchester.

Walk The Plank, one of the UK’s foremost outdoor arts companies, will transform the front of The Whitworth into a fiery courtyard and will mark the finale of the weekend with an enthralling firework display on Sunday evening.

Entry is free, but there are small charges to some of the attractions.

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Harry Potter Comes To Tameside

On Sunday Harry Potter comes to a village in Manchester as Broadbottom is transformed into a fantastical magical world in aid of The Christie.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s smash hit franchise, the village has an action-packed line up of activities for Potterheads. Hedwig fans will love the owl display at Lymefield Garden Centre, and nearby Lymefield Arts and Craft Centre will be host to wand making sessions and a Triwizard Training Maze.

From 2pm there will be a Magical Market in the village Community Centre selling Harry Potter-themed goods, including a selection of wands, wizard cloaks, capes and hats from Gladrags Wizardwear, as well as printed goods, spell-making and potion classes. Hot ‘butterbeer’ and special cakes will also be available from Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Room.

Hardened Potter fans will not want to miss the main event from 5pm on New Street, where a magical miniature Harry Potter ‘Hogsmeade village’ will be revealed, to the accompaniment of live music, projections, fireworks and special effects. Themed refreshments will also be served.

The after-party will be held in the ‘Three Broomsticks’ village pub, aka Harewood Arms, where a specially brewed Wizard Ale will be on draft.

Dick Longdin, organiser, says: “Broadbottom’s narrow streets, old cottages and community spirit lends itself perfectly to the creation of a Harry Potter world. We wanted to create a day which would appeal to people in and out of the village and raise as much money as possible for The Christie.”

Dick and his partner have created an annual themed Christmas display in their front window, known locally as the New Street Christmas Window, which has attracted thousands of visitors while raising over £3,000 for The Christie.

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Craft-mas Etsy Made Local Market

Etsy Manchester is celebrating the region’s most talented makers by putting three days of truly original shopping on the Christmas calendar with the Etsy Made Local Market at People’s History Museum from Friday 30 November to Sunday 2 December.

The festive market will bring together over 40 exhibitors from the creative community, selling everything from handmade jewellery, fashion and homewares to Christmas decorations and cards. It will give the public the opportunity to buy from Etsy sellers directly, meeting the makers and seeing their products in the flesh, as well as uncovering a treasure trove of potential gifts.

Names to look out for include Black Dog Pottery for beautiful ceramics, Tea Party at the Zoo for statement acrylic jewellery, Carrot Top Craft for colourful textiles and Moonlit Press for fabulous stationery and accessories.

The People’s History Museum conjures up a festive setting for the market, with stalls spilling out into Processional Way. Visitors will be welcomed by the spectacular Christmas tree, adorned with an array of bespoke Christmas decorations lovingly created by Etsy Manchester’s makers and designers.

The Etsy Made Local Market arrives on Friday 30 November (10am to 4pm), with the day leading into an evening Winter Warmer, from 5pm to 8pm, when festive shopping is accompanied by the cheering sound of carols being sung live by the talented She Choir. It’s a great opportunity to take in all the creative creations with a mince pie and mulled wine in hand, a world away from the stresses of the high street.

The seasonal shopping continues with the market open on Saturday 1 December (10am to 5pm) and Sunday 2 December (10am to 4pm), giving anyone who wants to do their 2018 Christmas shopping differently a one-stop shop for original present buying, made by local artisans and artists.

There will also be live entertainment across the weekend and pop-up workshops taking place with the makers.

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