Yarmouth Christmas lights launch pics

CROWDS braved the Wednesday night cold and joined a hearty countdown to see Great Yarmouth Market Place lit up with festive lights.

Panto funnyman Andre Vincent, who will be playing Billy Trott in Norwich Theatre Royal’s Jack and the Beanstalk from December 14, joined Yarmouth Mayor Michael Jeal on stage for the big switch-on at 7pm.

Undaunted by gusting winds that led organisers to cancel planned rooftop fireworks at 8pm, families gathered from early evening to watch live entertainment led by Heart FM’s breakfast show presenters Rob and Chrissie, although turnout was down on last year.

Town centre manager Jonathan Newman said: “Unfortunately, the wind was gusting 30 to 40mph from the north-east and that would have meant the fireworks and debris being blown over the spectators in the Market Place.

“We also had to cancel a speed kick contest organised by Norwich City’s Football in the Community team but all the other activities were unaffected.”

Yarmouth duo Hannah and Lauren and Tamsin – lead singer of local band Aftershock – performed in the lead-up to the switch-on while four-piece party band Zoo came on afterwards.

Children were enthralled by an appearance by Father Christmas and his elves and the sight of donkeys dressed as reindeer.

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Many of the revellers stayed in town for the first late night shopping evening with many shops staying open until 9pm.

Wednesday heralded the start of the Christmas fair, running for five days for the first time.

As well as food and gift stalls in Market Place marquees, there are more than 40 handicraft stalls and festive entertainment in St Nicholas’s Church and a Santa’s Grotto and craft workshops in the Priory Centre.

Norwegian choir Lardal Kantori will sing in the church at 7.30pm tomorrow, Saturday. The 35-strong mixed choir will be arriving today for a concert that has become a traditional part of the Christmas fair.

Tickets are available in advance for �7 from The Priory Centre, Priory Plain, or online at www.gytcp.co.uk. On the door they are priced �8.

More pictures in tomorrow’s Great Yarmouth Mercury.....