Under the umbrella of Melton Mowbray Christmas Weekend, the lights switch-on event and the annual Victorian Christmas Fayre were an impressive sight to behold again.
The weekend began with the Christmas lights switch-on on Friday, with over 150 stalls filling the town centre, all clothed in Victorian attire and offering traditional festive presents and handcrafted wares.
The stage in the Market Place was host to 17 school choirs throughout the day, followed by performances from Charlie Russell, Melton Guitar Tuition, the Neon Musical Theatre Company, Dylan Hutchinson and Hannah Castledine, Performing Stars and the Rock Choir.
Trumpton again transported Santa through the town centre at 4pm to his grotto in the Market Place, where he was then in residence until Sunday.
The lights were switched on by the pantomime cast of Melton Theatre’s Jack and the Beanstalk, with the mayor of Melton Councillor Malise Graham and junior town warden Tim Webster, followed by another fantastic firework display.
Shelagh Core, manager of the Melton BID, said: “The Victorian Christmas Weekend is definitely now an established three-day spectacle and the biggest town centre event of the year, with increases in visitor numbers and coach tourists year on year.
“Last Friday was our busiest Christmas lights switch-on event yet, with a huge increase in visitor numbers and high spend.
“Throughout the day and evening we had over 12,000 visitors, with an average number of between 1,500 to 1,700 per hour. All were notably taking advantage of the late night shopping and market this year and we had approximately 2,500 in the Market Place for the switch-on itself between 6pm and 7pm, which is just incredible.
“We are really looking forward to another successful Victorian Christmas Weekend next year.”
The Melton Victorian Christmas Fayre was also the busiest yet, with the market offering a great variety of stalls, from local food and beverage producers to artisan crafts and quality gifts. The full programme of on-stage performances included school choirs, musicians and singers, which provided an incredible festive atmosphere throughout the town centre over the weekend.
Street entertainment provided something for all ages and included Morris dancers, birds of prey, a reindeer visit, steam engine and barrel organ, the infamous Cheeky Beggars and Queen Victoria herself.
New to Sherrard Street this year was also the There and Back Light Railway, a new miniature railway with steam locomotive “Nomi” and coaches keeping the young and young-at-heart alike entertained on the Sunday.
Sharon Astill, organiser, said: “We were delighted to see the Festival of Cribs and Christmas Wreath Festival return again this year, with the Melton Christmas Tree Festival and its 1,500 trees again attracting huge crowds throughout the weekend.
“Coach visitors over the weekend reached an all-time high this year, with six coaches on the Friday, 14 on the Saturday and a record 20 coaches on the Sunday.”
For more pictures of the events visit www.meltontimes.co.uk