IT’S beginning to feel a lot like Christmas – with lanterns and lights.
Thousands of people gathered for the switch-on of the Waterlooville Christmas lights on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the biting cold, excited children from schools across the town took part in a lantern parade through the high street.
There was music, comedy and fairground rides to keep them entertained until the countdown to the big switch-on of the Christmas tree lights.
Jackie Buckley from Waterlooville Events Team, which is made up of volunteers, said: ‘All the businesses put in for the tree.
‘We were expecting a few children but we’re delighted to see so many enjoying themselves along with their families. It’s such a wonderful atmosphere and everyone has worked really hard to make it a success.
‘We’ve tried to include all areas of Waterlooville.
‘It’s the first event for a long, long time where we’ve had a Christmas tree.
‘Thirty-five businesses have contributed.’
The brass band of TS Active set the atmosphere as they led the lantern parade.
Theresa Davey, 31, from Cowplain, took along her children Samuel, six, and Jaxson, two.
She said: ‘It’s been fantastic.
‘There a great Christmassy atmosphere.
‘It’s a bit cold tonight but we’re having a great time and it’s a great family event.’
Over at Stansted House, in Rowlands Castle, the annual Christmas fair saw hundreds of people snap up beautiful gifts and decorations for the festive season.
The historic country pile and parkland was ablaze with lights.
Two horses wearing Christmas hats, pulled an old-fashioned coach around the grounds, full of excited youngsters.
Mandy Chalk, from Mr and Mrs Christmas, had a stall selling beautiful handmade decorations during the three-day fair.
She said: ‘It’s been really, really busy. Non-stop.
‘The weather is really cold which makes it feel very Christmassy.
‘Everyone coming in has been happy.’