Photos by WA16PR

KNUTSFORD’S annual Christmas markets and lights switch-on drew in huge crowds once again at the weekend, with residents and visitors alike flocking to the famous celebration to kickstart the festive season.

With 135 market stalls, town centre shop offers, a fairground, live entertainment and a parade of Santa and his reindeer, there was something for everyone over the two-day celebration on Saturday and Sunday.

Streets were lined with market stalls selling Christmas crafts, gifts and food, with town mayor Cllr Neil Forbes – ably assisted by Fire Cadet Jack Murphy – helping Santa to switch on the lights following a parade on Saturday evening.

Carys Slater, six, was the winner of the Guardian and town council’s competition to ride alongside Father Christmas and his reindeer en route to the Canute Place stage.

Deputy town clerk Lisa Benskin said: “What a weekend! Huge thanks to all the visitors to the Christmas Market who supported our excellent artisan traders on the market and our independent shops and restaurants.

“Feedback suggests it was the busiest Christmas Market yet – we have never seen Knutsford so busy. We are aware that due to the high volume of visitors, finding parking was difficult and we are in the process of investigating a park and ride scheme for the 2018 event.”

Town centre traders were quick to praise customers and the town council on social media for the events of the weekend, with a number of stalls also supporting charity causes and residents given a chance to get involved with the Neighbourhood Plan consultation.

The Market Cafe of Knutsford Market Hall in Silk Mill Street posted: “A massive thank you to all of our amazing customers this weekend... and @KnutsfordTown for organising an amazing event! We have loved every single second.”

Cha Bar, in Princess Street, wrote: “@KnutsfordXmas Thank you for organising such an amazing fun filled weekend for the town. It brings such joy to Knutsford.”

The festivities continue this weekend, with the lantern parade and Crib Service taking place on Saturday, December 9.

The parade departs from The Moor at 5pm, through town and concluding at the Crib Service near the Lost and Found at 5.45pm.