Perth’s Christmas celebrations pull in the crowds

© DC Thomson
Revellers in Tay Street.

Perth was crowned “Scotland’s Christmas capital” at the weekend as it hosted the country’s biggest lights switch-on celebrations.

More than 100,000 revellers flocked to Saturday’s festivities – the largest gathering in the history of the city.

The fun started early with a chocolate and gin festival on the High Street with fairground rides, ice sculptures,  food stalls and street performers on all the surrounding streets.

Among the weird and wonderful attractions this year were camels,  stilt walkers and  even a life size snow globe adding to the carnival atmosphere.

© DC Thomson
The Christmas parade on South Street.

As always the musical element was a major feature to the switch-on celebrations with 70s favourites Mud, Boyzlife, The Hunna and East 17 providing the musical soundtrack to the day.

Topping the bill was singer Alesha Dixon, best known for Strictly Come Dancing and her role as judge on Britain’s Got Talent.

© DC Thomson
Alesha Dixon.

Provost Dennis Melloy made his way to the Tay Street stage in a vintage car which was part of a huge procession of pipers and performers before welcoming an international contingent – visitors from France, Finland, Germany and Switzerland were among the crowds.

“Glasgow may be miles better and Edinburgh the Hogmanay capital but Perth is now the Christmas capital of Scotland,” the Provost told the audience gathered alongside the Tay.

The lights switch-on was followed by a spectacular firework display with the top acts  performing before the evening came to a close.

Large screens situated throughout the city meant people could see who was performing, wherever they were.

The community stage in King Edward Street proved popular, providing a high profile platform for local performers including the Letham Majorettes and the Julie Young Dancers.

Council chief executive Bernadette Malone said the day had been a resounding success.

“It has been a fantastic day, outstanding and great to see so many people here from all over,” she said.

The festive celebrations continued on Sunday in a slightly more subdued fashion with the second day of the chocolate and gin festival and musical offerings from stages on Horsecosss Plaza and outside the city hall.

A “cakefest” which featured an edible map of Perth and Kinross landmarks was assembled in the concert hall before the crowds had a chance to sample the bakers’ hard work when 10,000 free slices of cake were distributed.