Thousands of people attended Perth’s Christmas switch-on event, giving an economic boost to the local economy.
It is estimated a record-breaking crowd of more than last year’s 80,000 people descended on Perth city centre on Saturday, with local retailers and shops seeing an increase in takings.
Star turns Pixie Lott and James Arthur entertained a packed Tay Street after the street lights were switched on and a spectacular fireworks display took place over the river.
TV star Stephen Mulhern acted as compere between acts.
Big shout to @PixieLott at Perth’s Christmas Light Switch!! #perthlights #PerthWinterFestival #lightnight #fireworks #christmasswitchon #christmaslightnight #sing #fun #perthscotland #perthandkinross #saturdaynight #vocals pic.twitter.com/4rAVIgzaKT
— natasha (@_t4z_) November 18, 2018
The day-long party saw a chocolate and gin festival on George Street, vendors lined along High Street and King Edward Street and a fun fair and other attractions on Mill Street.
Street entertainers moved among the crowds throughout the day and took part in a colourful and noisy festive parade.
Yesterday Councillor Murray Lyle, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said the event was a “massive success.”
— Gillian Reilly (@Gillian321) November 18, 2018
“The buzz in the city at the weekend was incredible and proves once again that Perth is the place to be this winter,” he said.
#Celebrities Pixie Lott and Stephen Mulhern join #Santa and his #reindeer through #Perth City centre for #Christmas lights switch on parade @PerthCityCentre @pressjournal @tweets_scotland @miperthshire @highlandperth @VisitScotNews @scotland_love @ReindeerHerd pic.twitter.com/FLOj8mq84t
— Braemar Media (@BraemarMedia) November 18, 2018
Councillor Angus Forbes, convener of Perth and Kinross Council’s environment and infrastructure committee, said: “Official calculations of the economic impact of this weekend and crowd numbers will be reported to the council in the new year, but anyone in Perth on Saturday will be in no doubt that audience numbers for the whole day were at least as high as last year’s 80,000.
“Saturday was a fantastic day and night, I was in the town during the day for a couple of hours and even then the town was busy. I went back at night for the official switch-on and the city was absolutely full with people having a brilliant time. Shopkeepers and stall holders were saying sales were up and restaurants were full.”
Retailers highlighted the economic boost generated by the event, which is the centrepiece of the council’s Winter Festival.
Jenny Law, manager of Reid’s Café on Perth High Street, said the eatery stayed open late on Saturday to benefit from the large crowds.
“We were really busy on Saturday and stayed open until 9pm – we normally close at 6pm,” she said.
“It was superb, there was a large screen outside our shop showing the pop stars performing and there was a fantastic atmosphere in the city.”
Emma Vandarmwr, manager of Hinterland café on St John’s Place, said she feels the event is a “great attraction” for Perth.
“It draws people here,” she said.
The lure of the Christmas lights switch-on was emphasised as visitors came from all over Courier Country.
Ian Cameron, 43, of Tayport, said: “We decided to come here as there is so much on. The whole city centre is buzzing.”
Melanie Ross, 32, of Dunfermline, said: “Perth puts on a great Christmas lights event. We’ve been enjoying the gin festival and having stars like Pixie Lott is fantastic.”
Caroline Warburton, of VisitScotland, said: “Perth’s Christmas lights switch-on event draws visitors from far and wide and these people all make a valuable contribution to the economy, spending money on food, drink, entertainment and accommodation.”