Let there be light! Towns flick the switch on festivities
The sights and sounds of the 19th century transformed a town when it staged its annual Victorian Christmas Fayre yesterday.
Hundreds of people made the most of the sunny day to enjoy the market, which stretched through Melton town centre.
Food, craft and gift stalls, as well as children's fair rides, ensured the event was a fun-filled family day out – especially as Santa Claus and his sleigh made an appearance, with the help of Melton Belvoir Rotary club.
Rotary club member Paul Dickinson said: "I think the fayre is great. It gets bigger and bigger every year."
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Dressed in Victorian costume, Amanda Handley had a stall selling jewellery and other gifts. She said: "It's great fun and it's got a lovely Christmassy atmosphere."
The Victorian Fayre is now an annual event in Melton, and formed part of a weekend of entertainment which started with the Christmas lights switch-on, on Friday night.
London Marathon heroine Claire Lomas and the town's Olympic torch bearers did the honours in front of a crowd of several thousand people.
Jane Dillon, 45, of Melton, who was there with husband Phil and daughter Mia, five, said: "We loved it. It was cold, but a nice cold. It helped create a nice atmosphere.
"Mia really enjoyed it, she loved looking at the carol singers and she was dancing."
Thousands of people were able to enjoy Lutterworth's lights switch-on event on Friday after the main A426 Leicester Road through the town was closed to traffic.
Tony Hirons, a Lutterworth town councillor and chairman of the council's events committee, said: "It was an absolutely fantastic evening and, for the first time the town centre was traffic-free, which meant we could get more people in. The place was packed."
Coalville's lights switch-on took place on Saturday.
John Mooney, 66, attended the festivities, which included a fair and fireworks, with his family, including grandchildren Crystal, five, Mia, four, one-year-old Che, Layton, three and Ebony, two. He said: "It was fantastic, a really good day. There were arts and crafts for the kids, which were free, and the kids' choir was absolutely great."
Yesterday, Loughborough hosted a Christmas family fun day, complete with giant Christmas card created by deputy mayor Sandra Forrest.