It was a Merry Christmas all round as the annual highlight of the festive season in Chester was hailed a total success for 2016.
Thursday saw the traditional Christmas parade and lights switch-on take place in the city centre when an estimated 15,000 people turned up to get into the festive spirit.
Those with memories of last year’s event would have been waiting to see whether there was a repeat of the problems experienced when the lights stubbornly refused to turn on when they were supposed to have done.
And it had already been announced that the Christmas market was actually planned to open on Friday, November 18 because there had not been enough time to set up the stalls following the end of the Remembrance Sunday commemorations at the weekend.
As it turned out, not only did the lights behave themselves and sprang into life on cue, the efforts of workers and stall holders were rewarded when the Christmas market opened for business to take advantage of the crowds of revellers who packed the city centre.
The turn out was no doubt helped by the fact Thursday evening proved to be rain free even if the temperatures took a bit of a nosedive.
Highlight of the night was once again the Twelve Days of Christmas themed parade which made its way from the Town Hall Square through the city centre streets and back to where it started, to be greeted by a firework display and the welcome sight of Santa on the Town Hall roof.
Another big hit on the night was a giant sparkling Christmas star known as the CheSTAR which was lit up for the first time during the parade. The 25ft star stands proudly in the grounds of Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street and features almost 19,000 twinkling lights.
The Christmas market will be open seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday, with late night shopping on Thursdays until 8pm and until 7pm on Friday and Saturday until Sunday, December 18.
The Real Ale Bar will be open during general market opening hours and late night opening from Thursday-Saturday until 9pm.