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Iconic Austin’s windows to come to life for Christmas

01 December 2016

Anyone with fond memories of Austin’s Department Store’s Christmas windows is in for a treat this Christmas as they come to life once again with an enchanting display of traditional Christmas carols and festive performances led by local theatre company In Your Space.

As one of Europe’s oldest department stores, predating Harrods of London and Macy's of New York, the store closed its doors earlier this year after 186 years of trade. Residents and visitors to the city will recall that each year at Christmas the store was famous for its elaborate window displays that would draw visitors from all over to the city.

Derry City and Strabane District Council have decided to bring the window display back this year as part of its Wonder Windows Winter Wonderland, which will see some of the city’s most prominent shop fronts brought to life with performances, colours and animations.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Hilary McClintock said, ‘Everyone has fond memories of Austin’s window displays at Christmas, small things like this make shopping more fun and being a landmark building in the city centre Council wanted to ensure the window displays were incorporated into this year’s festive programme.’

Jacqueline Whoriskey, Festival and Events Manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council speaking about the Wonder Windows Winter Wonderland added that there will be a number of window displays to look out for. She added, ‘The beautiful Austin’s building in the Diamond will recapture a sense of childhood wonder as Santa’s elves put the final touches to this year’s gifts. Carollers will also bring a touch of Dickensian charm to the festivities as they perform in the windows and to anyone looking to view Santa’s Workshop in operation come and visit the window on the 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 22nd and 23rd December from 5.00pm until 7.00pm.

‘Another window to look out for is that of Visit Derry in Waterloo Place. Here you will be transported back to the Victorian era where traditional carol singers sprinkle some Christmas spirit and bring new life to toys on the 15th, 16th and 17th of December from 5.00pm until 7.00pm.

‘This will be a real treat for children and shoppers as many local retailers have given their windows a festive makeover too, further adding to the overall Christmas shopping experience.’

The ‘Light up Your Christmas’ programme for the Derry and Strabane District includes everything from crafts, choirs, Christmas Wonderland’s, a Christmas Tree Festival, storytelling and a Christmas Jumpers World Record attempt. Find out more at Derry City and Strabane District Council’s website www.derrystrabane.com/christmas.