IT'S beginning to look a lot like Christmas in west Cornwall as events are held to celebrate the start of the festive season.
The annual Christmas lights switch-on in Penzance drew big crowds despite the damp weather. The festive atmosphere began early in the day as a host of stalls lined up along Market Place and Causewayhead with locally produced goods on sale. Three stages provided entertainment for visitors, from toe-tapping tunes by the Turkey Rhubarb Band to the angelic sound of choirs of schoolchildren.
Trelya elves accompanied the procession through the streets of Penzance, giving the youngsters a wonderful opportunity to take part in a community event. "The support of so many people was fantastic and the children enjoyed it a lot as was evident by their smiling faces," said Tiffany Coates, project worker for the children's charity.
As the evening drew in, the crowds congregated around Wharfside Shopping Centre for the first switch-on. Mayor Phil Rendle was joined by Cornish Pirates Alan Paver and Laurie McGlone and his very special guest, Leo Thorgood-Dowell to do the honours. The seven-year-old scooped his chance to help turn on the lights after winning The Cornishman Christmas card competition.
"It was a great atmosphere," said Mr Rendle.
"It is good to be able to put this kind of event on for the town and people seemed very happy."
He added that the local council, the Causewayhead Traders' Association, Montol and Penzance Farmers' Market, would meet up in the coming weeks to plan next year's event.
Santa made a special visit to St Ives for the annual Fair Mo, meeting excited youngsters and handing out presents. The event, held at St Ives Parish Church included a number of arts and crafts stalls, giving visitors plenty of Christmas stocking filler ideas.
The nativity, a walking Christmas cracker and a warm Hawaiian beach provided an eye-catching display at Hayle Winter Carnival. A procession made its way through the streets with the Hayle Town Band performing Christmas songs to entertain the crowds. After a tough judging the winning float in this year's procession was Hayle Surf Life Saving Club with their warm luau scene with Phillack Church named as runner-up.
The top walking costume went to Richard Northey who donned a glowing Christmas cracker costume and travelled from Chacewater to take part.
"This was a lovely way to kick off Christmas," said town mayor Jayne Ninnes.
"It was a really fun community event."