THE CROWDS turned out in force for South Petherton's big Christmas lights switch on and lantern parade at the weekend.

It was one of the bigger switch on events in the village in recent history and featured a host of activities in the afternoon.

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Parish councillor Amy Soulsby has organised the afternoon for the past three years.

She said: "It has grown each year into a great fun afternoon, and well attended community event to kick off the festive season.

"I've tried to make it better each year and was quite overwhelmed to see so many more people at this years event.

"I think word has got around that it is an event not to miss in South Petherton.

"Traditionally our Switch On is held on the last Sunday of November and is an opportunity for the shopkeepers to open and thank the parishioners for their custom with mince pies, nibbles, mulled wine or special offers.

"When I took over the organising I opened up the event to community groups as an opportunity for them to fundraise and promote their group with stalls in the Blake Hall.

"Last year we had our first lantern parade as a way to round off the afternoon, the success of last year's meant it was a must this year.

"The reindeer went down a storm last year and so we had them return again too."

This year, the lights were switch on by two pupils of South Petherton Junior School, Lorna-Marie and Freddie.

Cllr Soulsby added: "I would like to thank on behalf of myself and South Petherton Parish Council; Knight electrical, Kevin Harris and Phil Wall for erecting the lights and Christmas trees and also Parish Councillors Courtney Salway and Mervyn Lovett that lent a hand.

"All the participating shop keepers, stall holders. Ttoo many to list but thank you all.

"The David Hall, The Brewers Arms, South Petherton Sports and social club, St Peter and St Paul's Church, Somerset Reindeer Ranch, Stoke Silver Band, Ethic Street Pizza, Dosa Tom, Honey Pot Farm and everyone who came out for the afternoon to support the event."