'It just lifts the town' - spot yourself in our Ipswich's Christmas lights switch-on gallery
PUBLISHED: 20:34 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 23:49 21 November 2019
Snowflakes and sparkling decorations brought the festive spirit to Ipswich as hundreds of people celebrated the switch-on of the town's Christmas stunning lights.
Traffic chaos on the Orwell Bridge, caused by a vehicle fire, did not stop hundreds of people gathering to celebrate the start of Christmas in Suffolk's waterfront town - even some if members of the 2019 Ipswich Regent panto got caught up in the queues.
Workers have been busily installing decorations, garlands and lights in the town centre throughout the week ahead of the big event on Thursday, November 21, with a 50ft pine tree from Elveden Forest put in pride of place in the Cornhill.
Entertainment kicked off at 4.30pm, with music played through the evening as children buying sparkling lights and toys to celebrate the yuletide season.
A smattering of snow - even if it was artificial - helped to bring a festive mood to visitors, who were impressed with the bright light displays and the effort organisers had put in to bring people into the town centre.
Sarah Thompson, 28, who was visiting with her partner Gareth Brunning and their one-year-old daughter Francesca, said: "I love it. I've always come since I was a kid and I want the tradition to be with Francesca as well.
"It just lifts the town and cheers everyone up a bit. People can be a bit down at times but at Christmas time, everyone is a bit more cheery. The organisers put a lot of effort in."
Mel Reynolds, 32, who came with her partner Dom Greentham and their child Maddison, aged three, praised the space at the Cornhill following its revamp last year - which allows it to pack thousands of people into events.
She also said it was a great boost for Ipswich at a time when many towns face challenges retaining shops.
Across the town, the tree which adnorned the Cornhill at Christmas between 2012 and 2016 will light up the Waterfront, outside the University of Suffolk.