SINGING, dancing, fake snow and Santa – Christmas officially arrived in Christchurch this weekend.

Hundreds of people flocked to the town centre on Saturday to catch the ‘Christmas Lights Switch On’ event.

Residents and visitors enjoyed a Christmas market, fair rides, face painting, live music, and a variety of street-food style vendors.

Stages in the high street allowed for headline performances from 6 To The Bar and DJ Jay Ratchett - seeing people dance away under flurries of fake snow.

The event made sure it catered for all ages, with Minky Moo's bringing songs and games to the stage, while the Hush Club brought the party energy with music, sequins, and cocktails.

Bournemouth Echo: The event was enjoyed by children and familiesThe event was enjoyed by children and families (Image: NQ)

At 5.30pm, the Mayor of Christchurch Councillor Vivienne Charrett, joined by Santa and members of the Highcliffe Charity Players, led a countdown for the Christmas lights switch on.

Despite a few electrical hiccups, the town was soon lit up with its snowflake themed displays above the high street.

There were also Christmas lights situated along Bargates and at Fountain Roundabout, with the signature Christmas tree standing proud in Saxon Square.

Speaking on the night, Cllr Charrett said: “It has been so lovely. 

“It’s great to see so many people here. They’re all having such fun, and everybody I’ve seen says they’re having a great time.

“It is packed at the end of the high street where the Hush Club are. It’s so lovely to see.

Bournemouth Echo: Christchurch Christmas lights switch on 2023

“Thank you so much to everyone who helped get this together. Everybody has worked so hard.”

Addressing BCP Council’s decision to cut funding for any Christmas lights or trees in Christchurch from 2023 onwards, Cllr Charrett said: “We’re lucky in that for the last couple of years, Christmas has been paid for by the town council as opposed to BCP Council so we weren’t so at threat.

“They used to pay for our Christmas tree so we’ve had to add that, but generally the town paid for it which is great, because we could just carry on with our plans."

Cllr Charrett concluded: "It has been a wonderful day."