Watch the video as Mexborough Christmas lights switched on
Hundreds packed the streets of Mexborough – as Christmas lights returned to the town.
Families took to the town’s High Street in force as a new set of festive lights were unveiled for the first time, after Santa flicked the switch to illuminate them along the street and on the town’s giant Christmas tree.
This year, the council splashed out on the lights, with an evening of entertainment running all along the main shopping street in Mexborough, which included fairground rides and attractions, plus a young musical entertainer.
It was the first time for several years that lights had been installed on the lampposts in the town centre.
A fire eater was a distintive attraction on the evening, as his flaming torch stood out brightly in the darkness of the early winter evening, but crowds packed the stage area as Father Christmas arrived and made his way through the crowds, before turning on the lights after a countdown.
Shops were open all along the route, with food shops appearing to do a busy trade in hot snacks. Former Labour leader Ed Miliband was also at the event, with a number of revellers approaching him to have selfies taken.
This year saw Mexborough School pupil Dan Cocksedge providing the main musical entertainment along with a team from Dice Enterprises, a non-for-profit social enterprise based in Doncaster that provides activities, events and services for people with a disability.
Teenager Dan, who played guitar and sang live during the evening, said he was delighted to be the entertainment at the event.
He said: “I’ve played some big crowds, but depending on how many there are here tonight it may be my biggest audience. I’m doing a mix of Christmas songs and some other songs that everyone knows.”
Mum Michelle Hindley, came into Mexborough from nearby Denaby with her children Kaisha, aged nine, and Xander, 15 months, for the big switch-on. She said: “We usually come down every year, and I think we were looking forward to seeing the new lights turned on this year. We come to Mexborough a lot, as Kaisha goes to St John’s Primary in the town.”
Mexborough mum Claire Nagy also brought her children, Blake Colley, nine, and Evelyn Hollis, 19 months, down for the switch-on. “We've come down for the lights,” she said. “We wanted to see Santa Claus, but Blake is more interested in the stalls and the fairground rides down here I think. Usually it rains when they have the Christmas event down here, so it’s been a nice change tonight.”
Little Mila McCall, from Mexborough, took time out to visit the face painting stall.
Her grandmother, Silla Parkes, said she thought Mila looked great with the design on her face.
She said she and husband Dave had made their first trip to the lights switch-on for years this year, with daughter Rachel Parkes and children Mila, aged six, and Sonny McCall, aged two.
She said: “The kids had grown up so we never really bothered with it. But since we’ve got the grandchildren, we thought we’d come back down again.”
Ian Chapman, from Balby, had brought his grandchildren Annie, aged two, and AJ, aged five, down to the switch on – and his oldest made it clear who would be the big attraction.
“AJ wants to see Father Christmas,” he said. “I think that is the main reason we’ve come tonight! We’ve also had a wander around the market stalls.”
Mexborough and District Lions Club had brought Santa's to the venue in his and sleigh, and Mexborough Brownies and Guides Mexborough led his parade this year accompanied by donkeys and the fire eater.
The new lights on the tree and street columns were paid for by the local councillors’ ward budgets, and Sean Gibbons, ward councillor and chairman of Mexborough Business Forum, said the plan was to have lights again next for years Christmas event, hopefully bigger than this year.
He said he hoped to have more lights in 2020, extending onto Bank Street and Main Street.
“We’ve had positive feedback from the businesses that stayed open for the evening,” he added.