THOUSANDS flocked to Penarth Town Centre this weekend for the annual Christmas Lights switch on, the town’s official countdown to December 25.

Celebrations started at 12pm when Windsor Road filled to the brim with families eager to see the illuminations and catch a glimpse of the man in red.

Crowds were treated to a host of entertainment including performances from The Mark Jermin Stage School, The Scarletons, Curtis Lee, Evolution Dance, Shelley Norton Stage School, The Pepper Seeds and the Salvation Army Band.

The festive fun also included children's rides, local food vendors, crafts and a special appearance by Father Christmas and his reindeer.

A spokesman for Penarth Town Council has said: “The light switch on is always such a special time of year and it really couldn’t happen without the support of organisers, performers, traders and all the families that braved the cold to come and watch.”

Father Christmas pushed the big red button at 6.30pm with help from Mayor cllr Angela Thomas, who said: “It was a wonderful day and evening in Penarth for the Christmas lights switch on event. It's the best event of the year.”

More than five thousand people attended this year’s event, which was organised by Penarth Town Council in collaboration with Production 78.

For those looking to stay in the Christmas spirit, the lights can be experienced at Penarth’s late-night shopping event on December 5.

Penarth’s festive late-night shop is ran in collaboration with Penarth Town Council, Shop Penarth and The Penarth Traders Group.