The countdown to Christmas has begun in Harrogate.
The festive party began as Mayor of Harrogate Coun Mike Newby officially switched on the town centre lights last Thursday night.
Accompanied by Consort Clive Kirkham, Coun Newby thrilled the Victoria Centre Piazza crowd by officially kick-starting the big countdown to Christmas, organised by the Harrogate at Christmas Group.
They were earlier entertained by bands including Purple Mafia, Distracted and Royalty 3, while Amelia Horth also performed.
The Rock Up and Sing choir took to the stage for the finale.
Coun Newby was joined at the event by Chairman of the Harrogate at Christmas Group Coun John Fox, Miss Harrogate Olivia Caven and, of course, Santa himself.
Coun Newby told the Harrogate Advertiser: “What a fantastic event this was, and doesn’t Harrogate look great with the lights now on!
“I want to say a big thank you to all those involved in organising the switch-on, and everyone at the Harrogate at Christmas team.
“They worked incredibly hard to make sure everyone enjoys nights like these.
“Harrogate’s switch-on is a great family event and it seems to get larger and larger every year.”
Coun John Fox who chairs Harrogate at Christmas said: “There was superb entertainment at this year’s event.
“I think this year’s was the best show we have had for many years. The lights and associated activities look fantastic, and hopefully they will encourage people to stay in Harrogate to do their shopping and celebrating.
“It is very important for the local economy that they do that. Supporting local business supports local jobs.
“Harrogate has plenty to offer at Christmas - why go anywhere else?”
Santa said: “Isn’t Christmas wonderful? Kids of all ages love seeing the lights getting switched on, and I want to wish all the children of all ages a wonderful Christmas.”
Miss Harrogate Olivia Caven said: “The switch on was fantastic and glittering.
“It was great to see so many people there and raising money for St Peter’s Church.”
Sandra Doherty is president of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
She said: “We managed to escape the worst of the weather! Last year it was absolutely tipping it down,
“It is all for the kids, they love to see Santa. There are plenty of people here which is great to see.
“This is where Christmas really starts, and now we look forward to the Christmas market next week.”
n Watch the video and buy pictures online: www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk