Over 100 people took part in a Christmas parade to mark the start of the festive season in Portimão on Friday (December 1).
Led by Santa and Mrs. Claus, the parade also featured a wide range of colourful Christmas characters brought to life by actors, dancers and musicians.
The parade started at the old fish market building (Lota), where the town’s ‘Toy Factory’ is located, and continued towards the Manuel Teixeira Gomes square, where Santa’s House was inaugurated. The parade then proceeded towards Alameda, where a 200sqm ice rink is set up, along with the Christmas Stage where live music performances are held and the immersive LED Planetarium, the big novelty of the town’s Christmas entertainment this year.
Filipa Goulart, an Azorean who lived in Portimão for 20 years, takes part as a dancer every year in Portimão’s festive entertainment, which she describes as “something wonderful that gives everyone the opportunity to experience the magic of Christmas, through lighting, decorations and entertainment, all for free”.
“Children love seeing the arrival of Santa Claus, and parents too,” the dancer said, praising the local council for putting together an entertainment programme that “offers diversity with parades, shows, and activities that lead to many smiles”.
There are several activities included in the festive programme, entitled ‘Portimão – Um Sonho de Natal’ (Portimão – A Christmas Dream), for both children and adults. Running until January 6, the programme features more than 50 shows and 30 spots around the borough which have been decorated with Christmas lights, including the local shopping streets, Largo da Mó, Alameda, the 1º de Dezembro garden, and Manuel Teixeira Gomes square.
Some of the highlights of the programme include the Christmas Market, which takes place at the 1º de Dezembro garden, featuring 10 stands selling local handicraft and other regional products, as well as a Christmas train which runs along the town’s central streets and a life-size nativity scene at Largo da Mó.
The Christmas parade that marked the start of the festivities will also be repeated in the parishes of Alvor (on December 17 at 3pm) and Mexilhoeira Grande (on December 19 at 10am).
The full programme is available online at https://portimaosonhodenatal.pt
By BEATRIZ MAIO