Step up: This years platform is much lower than last years.
Why are we waiting: Children play swords in the cold.
The lights on the friendship tree shine brightly in the dark.
The next day it was as if it never happened as there was absolutely no trace of the previous nights festivities.
Beat of the drum: The parade marching to the Baltic to see the new Fluxus exhibition.
An expert local vicar gave the tree a solemn blessing to bring the event to a close for another year and as the crowds dispersed music from the marching band could be heard as they made their way down Northumberland street. An Open Council member submitted a video of the parade passing by as she was doing some late night shopping.

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A large portion of the assembled crowd were poised to set off on a charity parade to the Quayside to visit the Fluxus exhibition at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. The parade was lead by a first class marching band but before they could set off, the christmas tree ceremony had to be brought to a close with the traditional blessing of the tree.
The Mayor flicks the switch to illuminate the Norwegian tree.
Making the news: The BBC covered the event.
It was hearts in mouths time as the Mayor of Bergen finally applied downward pressure onto the light switch. In front of a crowd of hundreds and an army of camera crews and photographers the lights on the friendship tree burst on to a mixture of gasps from the crowd and sighs of relief from officials.
The Mayor of Bergen has a passion for creative writing.
The Mayor of Newcastle said a few words then made way for the Mayor of Burgen who gave an extensive speech detailing the process of selecting and cutting the tree, which he chopped himself, and then told an anecdote about the journey of the tree from Bergen to Newcastle told from the trees perspective.
The crowd applauded as the respective Mayor's stepped up to the purpose built platform, flanked by two officials and accompanied by the brass band who had rushed out with their instruments moments earlier.
While the service in the Civic Centre was taking place the crowd of revellers was growing ever larger around the friendship tree waiting for the two mayors to emerge.
The exclusive civic ceremony was brought to a close with a rousing rendition of a traditional Norwegian christmas song by a local Norwegian woman followed by one last prayer and a few more cracks from the comical priest who sent everyone away with smiles etched on faces.
Mayor of Bergen has a good long look at our reporter while the Mayor of Newcastle's wife and the Sheriff see the funny side.
The tree is a symbol of friendship.
The band plays on despite the blinding light of the Civic Chandelier.
The Mayor of Bergen addresses the Mayor of Newcastle.

The Mayors and dignitaries were introduced by a lively priest who had the crowd bent double with laughter with a first class repertoire of jokes and anecdotes.

The formalities got underway with a speech by the Mayor of Newcastle followed by a counter speech by the Mayor of Bergen afterwhich heads were bowed to hear the comical priest say the Lords Prayer.

The comical priest welcomes the two Mayors and a string of vip's.
The Newcastle Schools Brass Ensemble assembled on the second floor and improvised over a string of christmas carols to entertain the gathering while the Mayor of Newcastle got changed into costume.
Our reporter gained access to the exclusive gathering of councillors and local dignitaries who assembled to hear the two Mayors speak inside the Civic Centre. A program of carols, speeches, music and prayer was then rolled out for the members and guests to enjoy before going outside to stand next to the tree.
The Mayor of Bergen, right, walks towards the Civic Centre as The Mayor of Newcastle is still doing interviews.
The Mayor of Bergen dwarfs the Mayor of Newcastle outside the Civic Centre.
Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr. David Wood, giving an interview to the BBC.
The Mayor of Bergen, already in ceremonial costume, wasn't left out as he also spoke to television. Click to see the interview here.
As usual the work started early for the Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr. David Wood, as he gave interview after interview in civilian clothes outside the Civic Centre.
All the controversy about the quality of the tree was put to one side and everyone enjoyed the night as hundreds turned out.
The Open Council were out to see the Mayor of Bergen turn on the Christmas tree lights at the Civic Centre. Our reporter arrived early to watch the preparations and to attend the Christmas prayer service at the Civic Centre.
Christmas Tree Lights On at the Civic Centre.

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