festive feeling was in the air when Portsmouth city centre’s Christmas lights were switched on.
Hundreds of adults and children gathered in Commercial Road for the big moment last night.
After a countdown and lots of screaming, X Factor star Kitty Brucknell took the lead in pressing the plunger down – filling the dark sky above with Christmas cheer.
More screams sounded the start of Christmas in Commercial Road, as the lights were on for the first time.
Queues to visit Santa’s grotto zig-zagged through the Cascades Shopping Centre, despite being more than a month before Christmas Day.
Craig Eves from Fratton was at the switch-on with his wife Marie and their three-year-old daughter, Ettie.
He said: ‘For the kids I think this is great.
‘Coming along and listening to the music, getting involved and seeing the lights being turned on has been great.
‘It is the first time the kids can feel like Christmas is coming.
‘Everyone sees the shops in the centre putting up their Christmas decorations but it does not feel like Christmas until the lights are turned on.’
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Steven Wylie, added: ‘It was a good party atmosphere down there.
‘It was great to see the puppet camel for the first time this year – a lot of the kids loved that.
‘The crowd seemed bigger than ever before – you couldn’t see the end of the crowd.
‘Everyone seemed to stay for the fireworks too, which was good.
‘There were thousands there last night.’