Gallery: Christmas lights provide festive sparkle in Ipswich

Christmas officially arrived at the town centre as Santa joined the shoppers at the first late-night shopping extravaganza of the year.

CHRISTMAS officially started in Ipswich as Santa joined the shoppers at the first late-night shopping extravaganza of the year last night.

Shops will remain open into the evening every Thursday from now until Christmas - and there will be plenty of entertainment to encourage people to come out and spend their money in the town.

Last night Santa rode through town in his sleigh as the lights came on magically to greet the shoppers.

It was the first of five themed shopping nights in the town, centred around the Evening Star Christmas Tree which is back in pride of place on the Cornhill this year.

Next week characters from the Regent pantomime are expected to take pride of place in the Thursday night entertainment, which is being branded From Statues to Surprise.

Activities also include:

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- Festive Market

- Daisy the Cow

- Treasure Hunt

- Ice Maiden on stilts

- Human Statues

- Fire Eaters

- Elves from Stage Coach

- Decorum dance group