Prestonians turned out in their thousands for the official start to Christmas in the city at the annual Lights Switch On, on November 18th.

The event, organised by Preston Business Improvement District (BID), with Smooth Radio North West, saw hours of free entertainment delivered to a packed Flag Market.

The spectacular Christmas Lights Switch On event, backed by city centre businesses, was sponsored by Gamer-X, Wacky World, Bar Pintxos, Jungle World, Friargate – Keep it Local, and Lancashire Tea.

But before the artists could take to the stage, there was a big surprise in store as singing legend Barry Manilow sent a special message to the thousands waiting in anticipation of the night’s festivities.

Performers included singers and TikTok sensations Max & Harvey, soul legends Odyssey, Corrie’s Antony Cotton, America’s Got Talent finalist Alfie Andrews, and lovable characters Shrek and The Snowman, who were joined by a host of brilliant local performers including Carol May’s Dance Academy, Becce J, DLN Dance, and Taz.

The lights were switched on by the entire cast of the show taking to the stage to support City Star, Jake Ogden. Jake was nominated for the honour of lighting up his home town following his tireless charity work.

A spokesperson for Preston BID said: “We appreciate the support of city centre businesses and sponsors in making the event possible.

“It’s an important annual event for the traders as it signals the beginning of the festive period. It also provides an opportunity for local families to come together and enjoy some quality time.

“We’d like to thank our partners and performers for helping make the event a success, and, most of all, everyone who came down to the Flag Market to enjoy the show.

“There’s still plenty of events and activities to enjoy in Preston, in the run up to Christmas, which people can enjoy whilst continuing to support their city centre”.