Thousands of people turned out on Saturday for the Switch On of the Christmas lights in Ringwood.
With entertainment from elves (from Ringwood School) giving out sweets, singers, fair rides, choirs and bands as well as over 60 exhibitor stalls and Roger the Ringwood Reindeer adding to the fun, there was something for everyone to enjoy.
Santa’s Grotto was open throughout the day and over 200 children called in to see him, get presents and play in the ‘snow’ with the elf helpers.
It was the first time the event had been held for a number of years and the sunny weather helped ensure the crowds spent all day on the High Street and Market Place.
Organiser Mandy Oldfield said: “It’s been a wonderful day and we have had lots of great feedback, which we hope will get more people involved next year.”
Towards the end of the day a lantern parade lit up the town as it made its way to the stage with lanterns having been made earlier in the day in the elf workshop in the Meeting House. Santa, Roger Reindeer, elves, families, a marching band, donkeys and motorcycles joined in the parade which ended up in the Market Place.
Parade organiser Christine Smith said: “It was lovely to see the small children involved and we are very grateful to them and their parents for coming along to support our day.”
The Christmas lights in the town were new this year with the displays supported by local businesses and the National Lottery.
The Town Council will add to these lights each year with plans to increase the size of the Switch On event so bringing in even more people to support local businesses.
The Town Mayor Councillor Barbara Woodifield said: “It’s been a great year for me to be mayor and there are other projects in the pipe line right now which I am sure local residents will embrace and which will improve the town further. I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved.”
The Town Council has recently formed a working party to look at how to support the High Street and local business and would welcome comments and ideas.