THERE were double celebrations to be had as Gunwharf Quays hosted a fantastic fireworks display and also officially welcomed in Christmas.
An estimated crowd of 20,000 people packed into the retail outlet in Portsmouth for a late celebration of bonfire night and to see the Christmas light switch-on.
But before the main event, audiences were given musical treats in the form of two live performances.
Nathan Sykes from boyband The Wanted treated fans to his debut single Kiss Me Quick and his new track Over And Over Again.
Friends Josie Jackson, 24, Pippa Booker, 20, Lucy Small, 15, and Hannah Johnson, 22, arrived almost five hours before the popstar’s performance in order to make sure they got to the front.
Pippa said: ‘He was amazing and we were glad we made the effort to come earlier. He’s very talented and it was a great live performance.
I thought the display was excellent and was really pleased with itColin Wilding, centre director for Gunwharf Quays
‘The fireworks were very pretty and the whole evening had a good feel to it.’
X-Factor finalist Andrea Faustini also entertained the crowd.
He played two songs from his new album Kelly – Evaporate and The River.
Paul Rogers, 47, wife Kerry, and children Elliott, six, Matilda, four, and cousins Lisa Jones, 48, Oliver Jones, 11, and Alister, eight, made a trip over from Hayling Island to see the fireworks display.
Matilda said: ‘The fireworks were pretty, they were like flowers in the sky.’
Dad Paul said: ‘The fireworks were brilliant.
‘It was an enjoyable evening and had a family-friendly atmosphere.’
Colin Wilding, centre director for Gunwharf Quays, estimated around 20,000 people watched the display.
He said: ‘Last year we had 16,000 people and it’s looking like we have had a higher footfall this year – somewhere around 20,000.
‘I thought the display was excellent and was really pleased with it.
‘We changed the company we used for the fireworks and I thought they gave a pretty amazing show.
‘We also switched on the Christmas lights because the fireworks create a nice spectacle and then it’s good to welcome in Christmas.
‘This is an event for Portsmouth and we like to make sure they get a good show. That’s why we hold it apart from other bonfire shows, so that people can go to more displays.
‘The feedback we get on doing that is great.’