CHRISTMAS arrived in Halstead at the weekend as the lights were switched on and the holiday season got underway.

The switch-on is a key part of the town’s yearly festive fun.

This year, it came after a successful day at the Halstead Christmas Fair.

After, crowds flocked to the town’s public gardens to enjoy the return of the main event.

A spokesman for Halstead Town Council said: “Following the day-long Christmas Fayre organised by Linda and her team, Halstead Town Council rounded off the day with its traditional lights switch-on event.

Halstead Gazette: Christmas lights in the public gardensChristmas lights in the public gardens (Image: Friends of Holy Trinity Church)

“Three children were selected from Holy Trinity, Richard de Clare and St Andrew's primary schools.

“They firstly had tea with Santa and their parents, as well as deputy mayor Andy Munday and his partner Linda.

“The children then climbed into the beautifully lit sleigh and were transported, through the efforts of Andy and the town clerk, with help from town council staff to the Public Gardens.

Halstead Gazette: Riding through Halstead on the sleighRiding through Halstead on the sleigh (Image: Public)

“The road was lined with excited children, and even more crowds cheering them on as they arrived in the Public Gardens just as the sun was setting.

“The children climbed up into the bandstand, where the Brownies were singing carols, and with the help of Santa, switched on the lights at 4.30pm.

“Deputy mayor Munday welcomed crowds, and explained the mayor, Jackie Pell, had been unable to attend as she had been unwell.

“Thank you for everyone who attended and once again made the switch-on a big success.”

After the town fair and switch-on, some residents made their way to Holy Trinity Church, to enjoy mulled wine and mince pies while listening to Halstead Community Choir.

Halstead Gazette: The Halstead Community ChoirThe Halstead Community Choir (Image: Friends of Holy Trinity Church)

A spokesman said: "The Friends of Holy Trinity Church would like to thank everyone who came to the church following the switch-on.

"It was hugely successful with queues right down onto the footpath on the main road.

"The atmosphere was wonderful with so many families with children enjoying the available refreshments.

"The queue for the mulled wine was very long.

"A big thank you as well to Halstead Community Choir who made the event very Christmassy."

The winter events will be rounded out with next week’s Halstead Torchlight Procession.

The event will be on December 6, starting from Market Hill in the town centre at about 6.30pm.