CHRISTMAS kicked off in style in Portsmouth as festive lights were switched on in the city centre and a stunning fireworks display lit up the night sky.
Families enjoyed an evening of action-packed fun in Commercial Road tonight.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Frank Jonas, joined Father Christmas and this year’s Kings Theatre panto star Anita Harris on stage as they pushed down a plunger to set off the Christmas lights.
Visitors also got to walk around a Christmas market and meet Santa in a grotto.
Performers from groups such as Timestep School of Dance, Giselle School of Dance and Same Difference Pop Academy – set up by former X Factor contestants Sean and Sarah Smith from Widley – wowed crowds.
And the evening was wrapped up with a fireworks display, which was met with a round of applause.
This really kicks off the Christmas season. We started off in the south in Palmerston Road and now we’re making our way through the city.Councillor Frank Jonas, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth
Charlene Pelham, of Eastern Road, came along with her children Robert, 14, Alana, 16, Josh, 13, and six-month-old Blake.
Charlene said: ‘We have a great community here and we need to get together like this more often. We love Christmas, and the lights are really nice.
‘It’s got us all really excited.
‘I’ve done all of my Christmas shopping already.’
Sharmaine Ray, of Eastney, who was with her son Miley, said: ‘We have had our Christmas tree up for about a month already because Miley is so excited about Christmas.’
Kate Bampton, 37, of Southsea, soaked up the atmosphere with her daughter Amelie, six.
Kate said: ‘We come along every year to see the lights.
‘We like to try out all of the local events.’
The event followed the lights switch-on in Palmerston Road, Southsea, on November 12.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Jonas said: ‘This really kicks off the Christmas season. We started off in the south in Palmerston Road and now we’re making our way through the city. It’s brilliant seeing all of the families having a great time.’