Peterborough was wonderfully illuminated at the weekend with the traditional Christmas lights switch-on in both the city centre and Queensgate Shopping Centre.
Father Christmas was a very busy man on Saturday, first lighting-up the city centre alongside Mayor of Peterborough Cllr David Sanders and council leader Cllr John Holdich, before joining competition winner Joshua Bolton (4) to turn on the Queensgate lights.
The large crowd who came to enjoy the festive event were kept entertained throughout the day, and not just by the return of our unusual £40,000 Christmas tree which was put on display for a second year after causing a social media stir 12 months ago.
The fun started in Cathedral Square at 1pm with a line-up of local acts including ‘One Boyband’ Tom Korni, Peterborough Male Voice Choir and Peterborough Voices who performed a selection of festive favourites, and The Stringlers who played Christmas classics on their violins.
The cast of Dick Whittington, performing at the Key Theatre from December 1, also lead the crowd in a pantomime sing-along before the Mayor joined a Salsa group on stage for some dancing.
The big switch-on took place at 5pm, before Queensgate unveiled its festive displays over an hour later with their own switch-on and the official opening of Father Christmas’ grotto near John Lewis.
The shopping centre was also handing out a number of prizes to celebrate the occasion, including a family trip to Lapland thanks to Thomas Cook.
Mark Broadhead, centre director at Queensgate, said: “This is the first year Queensgate has turned its lights on in unison with the Peterborough city centre light switch on and it’s been a wonderful success,
“Central square has never been so busy and full of festive cheer and the atmosphere was truly magical as people enjoyed live music and entertainment before the countdown began.
“Well done to Josh for doing a great job and a huge thank you to everyone that joined us on Saturday and to Thomas Cook for their incredible star prize that has made someone’s Christmas come early.”
On Sunday, Notcutts Garden Centre in Ham Lane also opened their Santa’s Grotto.