Christmas lights sparkling against a backdrop of the newly-floodlit parish church tower provided a magical feel to Fakenham’s big switch on.
Moments later the church bells also rang out to add their seasonal welcome to the occasion.
Saturday itself had been full of fun and frolics with a big emphasis on entertainment, compered all the way through by North Norfolk Radio.
Locally-based 1st Academy of Dance, decked out in Santa costumes, strutted their stuff as did members of FADLOS (Fakenham and District Light Operatic Society) singing songs from their current panto, Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp. Carols were sung by the Switch On Singers with the crowds adding their voices along with accompaniment from the Salvation Army Band.
Santa’s Grotto was a big attraction for the youngsters, housed in a marquee beside the war memorial.
Adrian Vertigan, chairman of organisers Kick Start Fakenham, was delighted with the whole day. “It was a great success, the best celebration we’ve had for years,” he said.
“With the sad death of Mark Baldwin most of the planning was down to myself and Lisa Mallett but Mark had already sorted out North Norfolk Radio, the Academy dancers and arranged for the church bells to close the proceedings.
“The whole thing was a great tribute to him. For the first time this year we asked town traders to get more involved and were over the moon that the Tudor Tea Rooms, Boots UK and Gatsbys hairdressers took part. The turnout from the people of Fakenham was terrific and the atmosphere in the square with everyone singing carols together was electric.” Mr Vertigan also paid tribute to Claire Brown and her colleagues from the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society for the Santa’s Grotto.
Janet Holdom, coordinator of community group Fakenham Area Partnership which helped back the event, said, “I must congratulate all the Kick Start Fakenham team for their hard work throughout,” she said.
“Also the town council, Aldiss and Kinnertons for their major sponsorship and the more than 20 businesses in the town who made contributions. Electrical contractors Kings and Barnhams once again did a great job setting up all the lights so responsibly.
“They keep their prices down and always go the extra mile. This year they reconnected the cabling to the church which had been destroyed by the fire in May.
“It’s wonderful to have the tower floodlit once again.”