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Stalls, live music, and lantern parade add to lights show
Thousands of people flocked to Tamworth in Staffordshire to see the town's Christmas lights switched on. Festive cheer came to Tamworth town centre on Sunday 24 November when an estimated 7,000 visitors enjoyed an afternoon of festive entertainment for the whole family. The yuletide season was kicked off in style with food stalls, festive drinks, fairground rides, nativity, walkabout characters, face painting, a lantern parade, and a variety of live community performances from the Touch FM stage in St Editha's Square. The free festive fun culminated in the switching on of the lights just after 6pm. This year the honour of throwing the switch went to Pixie Wallbank, the winner of a special Bake-Off competition. She was accompanied on stage by the Mayor of Tamworth, Richard Kingstone; together with Father Christmas and PJ Masks characters.
The annual Christmas lights switch-on, which coincided with the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Editha's Church, featured the Touch FM stage in St Editha's Square. It saw performances from local schools - Flaxhill Primary, Two Gates Primary and St Leonard's Primary - as well as local groups including Treyc Cohen's Feel Good Choir, Tamworth Pantomime Company, Just Perform, Tamworth Voices, Meg Benton and D-Day Darlings Katy Ashworth and the D-Day Darlings Juniors, who ended the afternoon of free entertainment with some classic wartime and Christmas tunes. There was also a street market which this year included several stalls offering a wide range of tasty street food including Spanish churros, Thai food, burgers, pizza, Indian selection, sweet treats such as fudge and doughnuts and festive delights such as Bailey's hot chocolate and mulled wine.
Pixie helps switch on the Christmas lights with the Mayor of Tamworth
Youngsters got involved with the Christmas lantern parade when they collected their pre-made lanterns, created at workshops during half-term and at weekends, fitted with glow sticks and mounted on six-foot canes. This year the new spectacular lantern parade represented the 12-days of Christmas, with the involvement of 12 different community groups and a sing-along starting at St Editha's Square. Mayor of Tamworth, Richard Kingstone, said: "The Christmas lights switch-on is yet another popular event in Tamworth's busy programme of free entertainment with a wide range of activities taking place throughout the town centre. Once again Tamworth Christmas Festival Committee and Tamworth Borough Council's Arts & Events team did us proud with another fantastic and enjoyable afternoon of fun which really got everyone in the festive mood. There was something for everyone to enjoy and it was great to see families and people of all ages enjoying themselves."