Santa used his magic to give Stirling its festive glow after a 10-second countdown to huge cheers from the big crowds who had massed at the bottom of King Street despite rainy conditions.
It capped of a day of festive fun in Stirling as families enjoyed meeting a host of favourite Christmas characters and street entertainers in the city centre and inside the Thistles shopping centre.
Festive cheer was also in plentiful supply thanks to some stirring Christmas carols by Strathcarron singers, while Stirling Rock Choir got the party into full swing, leading a sing-along of festive classics including ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday’.
The colourful Christmas parade from Baker Street to King Street was another highlight. Festive favourites such as Santa, Mrs Claus, the snow queen and Macrobert panto performers, were joined by Bailie Elaine Watterson and a number of community organisations, including 1st Raploch Beavers, cubs and scouts from Stirling and the Stirling Chinese Community Club. Music for the procession was provided by Royal Burgh of Stirling Pipe Band and Stirling Schools Pipe Band.
With thousands watching on at the Roundel at 5pm, Bailie Watterson thanked everyone for attending and Stirling Makar Laura Fyfe recited an uplifting festive poem, before Santa turned on the Christmas lights to mark the official start the festive season.
Festive feel-good factor
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Stirling’s Christmas lights switch on is always a magical moment and this year was no exception.
“I would like to add my thanks to all our residents and visitors who came along in such fantastic numbers to help Stirling celebrate this special occasion especially with the rainy weather.
“It may have been cold and wet but, having families gather together, combined with the fun and uplifting entertainment, filled everyone with winter warmth and the festive feel-good factor.
“The extra footfall in the city centre at this time of year will have delivered an economic boost to our businesses and traders as we head into a key period in the calendar. We look forward to welcoming visitors and locals alike back to Stirling for their Christmas shopping or to attend the many other festive events taking place in the Council area.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our hard-working staff, our partners and all the other agencies, including Police Scotland, who helped deliver such a successful event.”
For more details on the bumper programme of events taking place in the Stirling area during the festive period, please head to YourStirling.com.