HUNDREDS of people got into the Christmas spirit and turned out to watch Royal Wootton Bassett be lit up in the light switch-on and late-night shopping event.

The High Street was filled with merry-makers tonight for the town’s big event.

Many of the town’s High Street shops also stayed open late into the night, giving shoppers the chance to stock up on Christmas goodies ahead of Santa’s special day in a few weeks.

The lights were switched on by the Mayor, Sue Hughes, and George the Royal Lion and kickstarted an evening of entertainment.

Sue said: “It was opened by George the Lion and enjoyed by all. Our High Street was alive and thriving with late opening local shops decorated for the festive season and abundant market.

“Christmas music from the brass band, Cantanti, children and carol singers, an aroma of roasting chestnuts, mulled wine and mince pies. And, at the centre as it should be at Christmas, children visiting Santa, enjoying fairground rides, face-painting and games.

“With everything from Scarrots fairground rides and Samba to street entertainers and Santa, it was a wonderful chance to wish all a very Merry Christmas.”

The High Street was closed to traffic between 3pm and 9.30pm to allow the event to take place from the Coxstalls roundabout to the Station Road junction.

More than 40 stalls sporting all sorts of different crafts, confectionary, refreshments and Christmas gifts were available for shoppers to browse and youngsters also had a chance to meet Father Christmas and his elves.

There was also a Kaya Drum Workshop, Circus Skills Workshop and Casa de Samba as well as free face-painting.

Visitors also had a chance to enjoy performances from the Royal Wootton Bassett Dance School, the Cantanti Choir and the Consuelas.

The event was also well received by the Royal Wootton Bassett Business Association, ahead of Small Business Saturday, and today there is free parking in all Wiltshire Council car parks for visitors to the town.

Hazel Newson, chairman of the business association, said: “It was a really dry crisp day and there was a real Christmassy feel with all the stalls on the High Street and it was just a bit of a Christmas evening. And, of course, on Small Business Saturday [December 6] there is free parking, which is great.

“I think people do support local business in Bassett and there is a great sense of community and I think they do choose to get their Christmas presents from here.”

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