THE countdown to Christmas began with a festive bang last night as fireworks heralded the switch-on of Chester’s festive lights.
The ‘Enchanted Christmas’ began with Santa’s Parade, real reindeer, a host of costume characters and entertainers, snow and fireworks.
The fun started on Bridge Street in the afternoon when Chester’s Kites Aloft attempted a new record with pupils from Chester schools showing their skills with the diablo kite.
More than 100 diabloers, including pupils of Cherry Grove Primary and Bishops Blue Coat C of E High School, took part.
The parade kicked off at the Guildhall in Watergate Street, and included costume characters from Chester Zoo, Build A Bear, Gulliver’s World, The Forum and Blue Planet, and school children from Huntington Community Primary and Hoole CE dressed as reindeer and snowflakes.
The star of the show, Father Christmas, arrived on his sleigh pulled by real reindeer with a guard of honour from the Mercian Regiment while an open-top Heritage Bus carried Lord Mayor of Chester Brian Bailey.
The City of Chester Training Band performed carols and songs in Eastgate Street to accompany the parade before the mayor switched the lights on at 6.30pm.
Father Christmas opened his grotto in the Forum Shopping Centre while his reindeer took a well-deserved break in Northgate Street.