VIDEO: Spectacular switch on for Harrogate's Christmas lights
Blistering winds and bitter cold drizzle didn't dampen the festive spirit of those who gathered to watch the town's big Christmas light switch-on.
Crowds huddled on the piazza and in the entrance to Harrogate’s Victoria Shopping Centre in eager anticipation for what has been dubbed ‘the start of Christmas’.
Amongst the sea of bobble hats and cosy scarves were regular visitors, Dawn and Gary Wrigglesworth, who came to see the switch-on with their grandchildren.
Dawn said: “We come every year. We just like the atmosphere and the lights and everything. It’s just coming for the fun of it.”
Gary added: “It’s the experience, especially when we’re with the little ones as well. It’s the start of Christmas, it gets you all excited.”
The lights, which were turned on by town mayor, Councillor Nick Brown, are organised by charitable organisation, Harrogate at Christmas (HAC).
But it’s no surprise the event is such a spectacle, given that preparations for the festivities begin as early as January.
Councillor John Fox, Chairman of HAC said: “It went very well. I would have thought there was about 500 people there. There was quite a lot of people in the shopping centre and were still quite a few stood outside in the piazza.
“I think people who came to the switch on were thrilled that all the lights actually came on at 6pm because it was the first time we have done that.
“Previously the lights have been on from about 3pm and we have just switched the lights on at the piazza, but this year people should have noticed as they are coming into Harrogate that all the lights on the street were turned on at 6pm.”
Preparations for the festivities begin as early as January and this year, the lights were supplied by a new Harrogate lighting company.
Coun Fox said: “This is a new set of lights this year, we have brought back some colours, because previously everything was white.
“Now we have blues greens and red to give a bit of variety and lights that twinkle and drop lights so there is a bit of animation around the town now. “It’s the start of Christmas for the town.”
Today (Thursday) HAC will also be judging Harrogate’s shops for the best Christmas display and will announce the winner on Tuesday (Nov 29).