THOUSANDS of people braved the rain to celebrate the start of the festive season as a town’s streets were illuminated by hundreds of Christmas lights.
People flocked to Darwen Market Square on Saturday to the annual lights switch on event where they were entertained by singers and dancers and could shop until they dropped at the Crafty Vintage Christmas Markets.
Crowds were wowed with local talent from Lancashire Dance Academy and Darwen School of Music, before Just Imagine Theatre Company lit up the stage with The Greatest Show, including stilt walkers and fire dancers. Kiki Deville, who superbly compered the show, treated the audience to some festive tunes, before headline act Boyz On Block took to the stage and got the crowd singing and dancing along.
The Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Councillor Derek Hardman and the Mayor of Darwen, Councillor Lilian Salton, joined the performers on stage as the crowd counted down to the lights being switched on. There were cheers and gasps of delight from the crowd at the sight of the lights shining across the town.
The Grinch was spotted in the crowd with some elf friends, however, he, nor the weather, managed to dampen the Christmas cheer. Children were able to have their faces painted and there were fairground rides and sweet treats to keep everyone smiling.
The fun, free, family friendly event was organised by Blackburn with Darwen Council, with a generous financial contribution from Darwen Town Council, and sponsorship from local estate agents, Duckworth’s.
Councillor Phil Riley, executive member for growth and development, said: “Feedback from local businesses and the Christmas market was that it had been a successful day for them and the comments from the public as they were leaving were very complimentary. Everyone who came to the event had a great time in Darwen.”
The Crafty Vintage Christmas Markets and entertainment on and off the stage continued on Sunday. Laura Johnson from Crafty Vintage said: “The atmosphere was brilliant, our traders have had a great couple of days and it was great to see so many people come out and support the event, Darwen, you did us proud! What a fantastic weekend.”