PICTURE GALLERY: Portsmouth’s Christmas lights switch-on is a sparkling success

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LOG cabins, fireworks and hot chocolates were all on the menu at Portsmouth’s big Christmas Lights switch-on event.

Our gallery of pictures by Habib Rahman shows how people were out in their droves at Commercial Road to try festive food and drinks from any one of the 18 traditional log cabins.

Eager crowds at the Christmas lights switch-on in Commercial Road, Portsmouth

Eager crowds at the Christmas lights switch-on in Commercial Road, Portsmouth

Personalised Christmas stockings, tree decorations and jewellery were also up from grabs.

Wave 105 hosted the event, introducing a number of talented dance troupes onto the stage who wowed the crowds with their festive numbers throughout the evening.

A Bavarian-style bar was set up in the middle of the high street, offering warming cups of gluhwein and Bratwurst sausages were sold with various toppings.

The market even offered visitors a white Christmas experience, as its snow flurry machine sent snowflakes out into the air.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, cllr  Ken Ellcome with his wife, Jo and the Christmas panto cast of Snow White switch on the Christmas lights    Pictures: Habibur Rahman

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, cllr Ken Ellcome with his wife, Jo and the Christmas panto cast of Snow White switch on the Christmas lights Pictures: Habibur Rahman

Alex Jones from Milton brought her four children to the event.

Alex said: ‘I bundle the kids in the car and we make the trip down every year. I enjoy the food and live music and the kids love the countdown and watching the dancers with their friends.

You really get caught up in the spirit of it and each year there always seems to be a great turnout so it’s a winner for us.’

Lord Mayor Cllr Ken Ellcome initiated the countdown on stage alongside Father Christmas, and stars of the King’s Theatre pantomime Snow White.

Children enjoying the fireworks

Children enjoying the fireworks

Choirs sang through the shopping centre and locals posed for pictures with Olaf the singing moose.

Stage acts included performances from various local dance companies including Centre Stage, Street Force and the Neptune Girls.

Simon Price brought his family down to try the hot chocolates.

Simon said: ‘We wrap the kids up warm and they couldn’t wait to get their hot chocolates.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, cllr Ken Ellcome, gets a kiss from his wife,  Jo, and panto dame Jack Edwards

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, cllr Ken Ellcome, gets a kiss from his wife, Jo, and panto dame Jack Edwards

The dancers have been terrific and the night has run really smoothly.

There’s so much variety this year with the stalls and things going on inside the centre.

My son was really looking forward to meeting Father Christmas.

‘We got a great picture of the two of them so I know he was chuffed.’

Lord Mayor Cllr Ken Ellcome said: ‘The Christmas light switch on events are such a big part of the city’s Christmas spirit.

‘We have had a good turnout this evening, everyone seems very excited and you can see people out there, enjoying themselves which makes for a tremendous atmosphere.

The Neptune Girls at Commercial Road

The Neptune Girls at Commercial Road

‘Well done to everyone involved.’

Bella, aged three, and her sister Lola, nine. with Santa in the Grotto in Cascades, Portsmouth

Bella, aged three, and her sister Lola, nine. with Santa in the Grotto in Cascades, Portsmouth