CHRISTMAS arrived in Cosham as hundreds united in the street for a lights switch-on.
Scores of families and friends came together this evening to enjoy a host of festive fun as Cosham’s High Street was ceremonially illuminated for another year.
As the clock struck 5pm, crowds bellowed out a 10-second countdown – before the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Father Christmas and cast members of the New Theatre Royal’s Beauty and the Beast pressed a button to light up the street.
The Evans family – parents Jude and David and daughters Jasmine and Kezia – were among those enjoying the festivities.
Seven-year-old Jasmine said: ‘I’ve had lots of fun. I really enjoyed the countdown and the lights are pretty.’
Mrs Evans, 35, added: ‘Tonight has been really good, the kids have enjoyed it and they got to see all their friends too.’
Alicia Patterson, 27, has attended the Christmas fixture with her family since they moved to Cosham two years ago.
The mother-of-two said: ‘Tonight has been really great fun. We’ve been to the switch-on for past couple of years and we love it.’
Her four-year-old daughter, Scarlett, said: ‘My favourite part was seeing Father Christmas. He is the best.’
Throughout the evening, visitors enjoyed children’s rides and an array of sweet delicacies from stalls lining the pavements – selling candy floss, doughnuts and ice cream.
After the lights were switched on – arching over the High Street – performers from local dance groups took to the main stage.
Onlookers were later wowed by a fireworks display as the night concluded.
Councillor Ken Ellcome, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, said the evening’s turnout was ‘great’.
He said: ‘This is the third switch-on I’ve carried out in the past few weeks and it’s been good fun.
‘The turnout has been great, the weather has held out and it’s been very successful.
‘The view looking down the High Street is fantastic and I’ve been told there are lots more people here this year then there was for last year’s switch-on, so that’s great news.’