FESTIVE fun officially came to Andover with the Christmas lights switched on by Father Christmas and the town’s mayor.

A Christmas festival took place across the town centre, on Friday, November 17, with plenty of activities for all the family across different stages and a variety of independent businesses joining in.

A line-up of music acts performed a collection of Christmas songs and dances on a stage by the Guildhall, with acts including choirs from Vigo, Anton and Pilgrim’s Cross schools, Andover Youth Dance Company, RAPSO Steel Band and headliner Nokando entertaining the crowds.

Andover Advertiser: Andover Christmas lights Andover Christmas lights (Image: Sarah Gaunt)

At 6pm, the Christmas lights were switched on by the Mayor of Andover, Cllr Robin Hughes, with help from Father Christmas. Young and old counted down from 10 before the big red buzzer was pressed, lighting up the festive decorations and the town’s Christmas tree.

Elsewhere, live music was performed on a stage in the Town Mills Pocket Park, including Maddisson A, Swan Samba band, and headliners No Way Out. 

Children’s activities took place in the Chantry Centre with a special tale of Cinderella and magic shows. The popular Christmas Grotto also opened for the first time, with Father Christmas flying in from the North Pole to the indoor garden - children had the chance to meet him and collect a special gift.

Andover Advertiser: Iris Andersen Iris Andersen (Image: Iris Andersen)

Cllr Iris Andersen said: "Everybody was in the Chantry Centre with the staff and it was an absolutely great night for all. The naughty elf had been let out!

"It was a lovely event, everybody needs to be congratulated for the time and effort they put into it. It was a really great family get-together and seeing the children's faces was fantastic."

Andover BID manager, Shelley Coburn, said: "We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of this event and having worked really closely with the events team at TVBC and ATC for some time on this, we wanted to further expand on last year’s format and encompass a town-wide festival feel to this event.

"It was fabulous to see such a large turnout in support of the performers, market stalls and most importantly the town centre businesses. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Christmas event!

"There are so many people we’d love to thank and we will directly, but just wanted to put a quick thank you to Love Andover, Andover Community Events and Illusion Events Hire for their support in running this event."

"We hope everyone who attended had a great time. Just remember, 'support your local businesses in the lead up to this Christmas and beyond’."

Along Bridge Street, there was a Christmas Market featuring businesses selling a variety of gifts, from original art to handmade jewellery and gin.

Click the top image to see more pictures from the event.