THE festive season was launched with a blaze of colour in Accrington when the town’s Christmas lights were switched on.
Crowds of people flocked to the town centre to see the switch flipped by the Mayor of Hyndburn, Councillor Tony Dobson, and to enjoy a fireworks display near the Arndale Centre.
The cast of Accrington and Rossendale’ College‘s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk were also on hand to keep kids entertained.
For many, the highlight was a performance by Spice Girls tribute band Spice Unite, who gave a rousing rendition of favourites such as Wannabe and Say You’ll Be There.
They started off in scimpy outfits but eventually had to give way to the bitter cold night and don something warmer.
Many shops also stayed open until late into the evening to give shoppers a chance to pick up some early Christmas gifts.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: “The Christmas lights switch-on was a great success and I am especially pleased with the new lights on Warner Street. The fireworks were also excellent.
“There were thousands of people there, all having a good time and enjoying themselves, and it was a great start to the festive period across the borough.”
Councillor Dobson said: “I was quite amazed by the turn-out which was very high. The weather had been miserable all day but luckily it seemed to fine up a bit later on.
“The fireworks were excellent and so was the Spice Girls tribute act. It was definitely one of the best switch-ons we have had.”
The ceremony heralds the start of late-night shopping in the town centre in the run-up to Christmas.
See more pictures from the big night in Friday's Observer ...