Hundreds of families braved ‘real’ snow and icy wind to see Skegness begin its festive season with a sparkling Christmas parade and lights switch-on.
In previous years the Hildreds centre had relied on a snow machine to add to the festive atmosphere but this time there was no need.
Almost blizzard conditions earlier in the day left some residents wondering whether the switch-on would happen at all.
But when you are in Skegness, the show must go on - and the crowds were not disappointed.
The switch-on ceremony was led by the Mayor of Skegness, Coun Danny Brookes, Lincs FM breakfast presenter Rob Hammond, the panto cast from Aladdin and Santa Clause himself.
Entertainment started outside the Hildreds shopping centre on the main stage by the Christmas tree with singers and stilt walkers bravely wondering among the crowds on the snow covered ground.
For shoppers keeping warm inside Hildreds, there was an ‘Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders’ Christmas grotto and youngsters were able to post their letter to Santa and enter a colouring competition for a chance to win some early Christmas presents.
All the money raised by the Hildreds grotto is donated back to The Skegness Carnival which will be used to put on next year’s parade and week-long entertainment.
Crowds lined the streets for the parade which left Briar Way and travelled up High Street and down Lumley Road with the Carnival princesses, the Jolly Fisherman, Santa and Rob Hammond from Lincs FM, who compered the switch-on.
County Linx Radio also entertained the crowds, receiving a donation of £360 from Skegness Ambassadors from a sponsored walk they did to raise money to put heating in the community bus.
Hildreds manager Steve Andrews said he was delighted so many people turned out to see the switch-on.
He said: “It’s gone brilliantly. The people of Skegness never cease to amaze me by turning out whatever the weather.
“It’s the first time in 29 years we have had real snow - this year we didn’t need the snow machine.”
Enjoying the show were local cubs and scouts. Caroline Miller of the 1st Skegness cubs and scouts said: “It may have snowed but we’ve had a really good turnout - after all our motto is ‘Be Prepared’.
* For more pictures see next week’s Skegness Standard. If you missed last night’s switch-on pop along to 16 Alma Avenue in Skegness tonight at 6pm where Adrian Dawes is having his own switch-on in aid of the Loncolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance. The display features 20 6ft Christmas trees and 12,000 lights.
Then tomorrow (Saturday), Richard Watkinson is holding a switch-on at 154 Drummond Road, Skegness in aid of the Salvation Army.