Festive cheer at Cromer’s Christmas lights switch-on

Cromer Christmas Lights switch on by the town church. Pictured is Gavin Fitt, 45, with his beard bau

Cromer Christmas Lights switch on by the town church. Pictured is Gavin Fitt, 45, with his beard baubles. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Hundreds gathered for Cromer's annual Christmas lights switch-on which took place on Saturday.

The streets around the town were awash with a host of colourful characters from Santa himself to stilt-walking elves and fire-eaters.

Festivities leading up to the Cromer switch-on included a Christmas Tree and Nativity Festival in Cromer Parish Church and a Christmas market on Saturday in the town, including craft stalls, Santa's grotto and a host of children's activities.

Roadside shops also opened their doors offering some late-night cheer. There was also entertainment with performers from Cromer Pier's Christmas show including comedian Olly Day and The Salvation Army Band.

The lights themselves were switched on by the winners of the children's poster competition, Mollie Snowball, 10, Emma Brooks, nine and Sophie Stewart, four.

Tony Shipp, who helped organise the event, said: 'I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped put the event on, there has been a lot going on in the town. I think we can say Christmas in Cromer has now really begun.'

Part of the Cromer Christmas festivities is a structure that continues to divide opinion in a seaside town, the alternative Cromer Christmas tree.

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The tree, which stands in front of the parish church, is always built around the flagpole and stands a few feet away from the traditional tree.

This year, after inviting ideas from members of the public, the alternative tree is a collection of giant advert candles, each sponsored by a different organisation.

Cromer mayor Tim Adams said the reaction he had seen so far was good. He said: 'The whole idea of the alternative tree is to create discussion and generate interest in Cromer and get Cromer talked about.'

On Sunday there will be a civic celebration and community carol concert in the parish church at 3pm.