A CARNIVAL atmosphere combined with festive traditions when the Christmas tree was lit up in Northwich on Saturday.

Witton Street and Brunner Court were jammed with crowds who gathered to watch the switch-on.

This followed an afternoon of Christmas stalls and games, a tractor and trailer ride through the illuminations and a lantern parade by schoolchildren, led by a samba band.

Crowds were entertained by pantomime favourite Widow Twanky, played by Steve Moorewood who will be performing in Aladdin at The Grange Theatre this month, as well as stiltwalkers, dramatic fire eaters and a brass band playing carols.

Town mayor Clr Bob Robinson flipped the switch to light the 3,500 bulbs on the tree and praised the lights throughout Northwich, which are new this year.

He said: “Earlier this year we had no lights, nothing, because everything had been condemned.

“Staff at Northwich Town Council have worked hard, supported by Cheshire West and Chester Council, private individuals and organisations, to get these lights and next year will be even better.

“We’ve got a huge Christmas tree and for the first time ever we have got so many people gathered together.”

Chris Shaw, clerk to Northwich Town Council, said: “It has been a fantastic day with lots of support.

“Now all we need is a bigger town because we can’t fit any more people in,” he joked.

Town councillor Louise Hough, from Crafty Stitches, said: “It’s a wonderful display and it’s been commented that it’s not just a Christmas tree, it looks like Delamere Forest in town.”