A cold and chilly evening provided a warm welcome to this year’s Christmas festivities as the annual Christmas lights were switched on in Bury St Edmunds town centre.
Hundreds of people packed the Market Place as the traditional countdown heralded the lighting up of the town complete with an explosion of golden ticker tape.
Santa was guest of honour alongside some friendly furry companions and there was knockabout fun from stars of this year’s panto Aladdin who threw sweets into the crowds.
Charity stalls offered gifts and refreshments while youngsters and adults enjoyed meeting live reindeer and penguins as well as rides and giant trampolining at the funfair. There was plenty of sparkle with face painting in Cornhill Walk while a magician and balloon model maker kept children entertained.
Local schoolchildren and students at West Suffolk College performed on stage as excitement mounted ahead of the grand switch on.
The evening organised by Our Bury St Edmunds heralds Thursday evening late night shopping in the run up to Christmas and comes ahead of the town’s four day Christmas Fayre next weekend.
Mark Cordell, Our Bury St Edmunds chief executive, said: “We thought it was another great success. We haven’t been able to quantify numbers in town as yet but it was very busy. We’ve had feedback from charity stalls with regards to the overall atmosphere and how much money they took. The additional lights, particularly in St Andrew’s Street South, were really good. It’s a lovely way to kick off Christmas in the town.”