The festive spirit was in abundance on Friday as thousands gathered to watch the official Christmas Light Switch-On!

Thousands of people gathered in the High Street last Friday, to see the Christmas lights switched on and to enjoy the festive entertainment provided.  Newport Town Council hosts this free community event every year and this year’s event was a huge success.

The town square was transformed with a stage marquee covered in twinkling lights and from where Nova FM kicked off proceedings with seasonal music at 4.30pm. The Newport Male Voice Choir then treated the gathering crowds to some festive carols, followed by characters from Nova Panto’s ‘Beauty & the Beast’, who got the crowd into the swing of things, as they waited for the imminent arrival of Santa and the BIG Switch-On.

The Newport Salvation Army marching band led Newport’s traditional Christmas Parade, which left the Guildhall just before 6pm. They were followed by a reindeer drawn sleigh carrying the Christmas Card Competition Winner and her guardian, and the Rotary Lite sleigh ferrying Santa and the Mayor, Councillor Ian Perry.

The procession made its way along the High Street to the square, where the competition winner, Santa and the Mayor disembarked and made their way to the stage for the official proceedings.

Just prior to the switch-on, a short tribute was paid to Peter Taunton, Town Crier for Newport since 2008. Peter had been booked to perform the switch-on for the Town Council again this year, but sadly passed away in September, just weeks after reading the proclamation for King Charles III.

The Mayor, Cllr. Ian Perry, then made a short speech, thanking everyone for coming out. He also congratulated the Christmas card competition winner, Elizabeth Lord-Fox, just 3 years old, and who got to turn on the lights. The  Christmas lights switch-on was greeted with huge cheers from the crowds, as the lights twinkled on up and down the High Street.

Following the switch-on, Santa returned to his sleigh to meet the towns children and to hand out sweets and children were also able to visit his reindeer and get their photographs taken.

The entertainment was wrapped up by the Beaumaris Singers, another local choir, who closed the evening with a selection of season songs and carols.

The new town Clerk, Jo Reay said “It was lovely to see so many of the community out in such numbers enjoying the festivities and wonderful to see our town lit up for Christmas! Newport has a great community spirit, and it was fantastic to see so many of our local businesses staying open late and getting into the festive spirit with their own lights and stalls.”

Working in collaboration with the Town Council, the Newport Events Company held its second Christmas Market on St. Mary’s Street. With a variety of seasonal food, drink and craft stalls and a fun fair on Lower Bar, there was something for everyone.

The whole event was a huge success, with record crowds despite the World Cup England Game starting at 7pm.