FIREWORKS and fairy lights drew thousands of people to Gosport for the big Christmas lights switch-on.
Fears that driving rain would deter the crowds proved unfounded as about 2,000 people turned out for Saturday’s event.
Host Express FM put on a well-received show comprising local acts ranging from Bridgemary College Music Project to Pulse Dance Academy and seasonal music from Gosport Solent Brass.
St John’s, Gosport CoE Primary School Choir wowed the crowds ahead of the main event.
Then actors Carly Thomas and Ben Redfern – who are playing Cinders and Buttons in panto Cinderella at Fareham’s Ferneham Hall – switched on the lights with Mayor of Gosport, councillor Richard Dickson.
Speaking at the event, he said: ‘It’s gone brilliantly. It’s a shame the weather wasn’t as good as it should have been. The whole space was filled, that’s the main thing.
‘The young people of Gosport support all the events we do as a local authority.’
Spectators were treated to a display of fireworks launched from the town’s Discovery Centre in the High Street.
The impressive display was sponsored by GS Building Services Ltd. There were fairground rides and stalls to entertain all the family, as well as a huge Christmas tree which is now lit up for the festive period.
Cllr Dickson added: ‘The fireworks were super – a lovely display for the children.’
Event organiser Nigel Draycott, who is arts deve-lopment officer for Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘It’s gone very well. We’re pleased because although it’s wet we’ve had a good crowd. Even despite the rain we have had huge numbers.’
The day’s events were compered by Express FM’s Pete Crew for the fourth year running.
He said: ‘It was good. It was a fabulous atmosphere. It was a pity about the weather but it went well.’