The festivities begin at the Newbury Christmas lights switch on
Things are looking bright this season with the Newbury Christmas lights switch on kicking off the festivities.
Newbury BID (Business Improvement District) put on a non-stop show from 10am today (Saturday) to 9pm in the evening with thousands of people popping down to get in on the festive cheer.
From pop-up choirs to art workshops, the town was packed out with continual entertainment.
Santa’s grotto was open in Parkway, while Disney princesses graced the grounds of Barry Forkin-Toomers in Bartholomew Street, even the Grinch came along.
Stilt-walking candy canes took to the streets, handing out sweets to boys and girls.
Kennet Shopping centre held a teddy bear hunt, colouring competition and a make-your-own Christmas card activity.
Newbury BID CEO Melissa Hughes said: “It’s so nice to see so many families out enjoying themselves and having a great time.
“We know it was really hard having Christmas with so much being cancelled and we wanted to make sure that we gave people the opportunity to celebrate this year, to come into Newbury and be entertained.
“Because it's outdoors people feel a bit more confident about coming out there’s plenty of space for people it’s a great atmosphere out there today.”
As the sun set, the market place was transformed into a magical market where visitors could have a go on the Christmassy carousel, grab a warm bite to eat from the festive food stalls and buy light up toys for the big switch-on finale.
Volunteer Eddie Webb from Newbury Rotary Club said: “We are helping out this evening, helping the BID and Visit Newbury which we are really pleased to do.
“It feels really good to be out again with so many of us haven’t done too much for the last year it’s great to be out.
“We are enjoying being out again and looking forward to events that are coming up.”
The evening saw a variety of musical entertainers from teen pop soloist Olivia McBeth who kicked off the fun with an Amy Whinehouse classic, to covers band Juliette Duo who entertained the crowds of people with their pop, rock and Christmas mash-ups.
The star sisters Queen Elsa and Princess Ana paid a visit all the way from Arendelle to entertain children with Disney hits, before welcoming Santa himself and Newbury mayor Billy Drummond to the stage.
And the countdown began to the lights switch-on itself.
Performer Michaela Heffer said that entertainers came from “far and wide” to get dressed up and spread the cheer.
She said: “Being able to get together with everybody and seeing all the work that’s been put into it as well, just to go back out and entertain everyone with fellow entertainers, it felt really great.
“Last year we were in a lockdown phase it’s so nice to be able to see everyone’s coming out for it now, hopefully this is the light at the end of the tunnel.”