A PARADE marched through a town as a community gathered to watch its festive display light up.
Families battled through the wind to gather in Seaham for the switch-on late on Thursday, starting on the Terrace Green on the seafront, where two trees stand, before moving on to three others in the town centre.
Santa was pulled along on a horse-drawn sleigh, with Seaview Primary School pupils singing carols to music performed by Seaham Music Academy before a crowd of hundreds.
Fairground rides were set up outside Byron Place shopping centre, with organisers Seaham Town Council handing out sweets to youngsters.
The display has had a £18,000 revamp following the release of £10,000 from the Government’s Mary Portas campaign, with the rest put in by the council.
Mayor Sue Morrison, who oversaw the switch-on, said: “The new lights have made a difference and plenty of people have come down to see them.
“It’s good that they have something to see without the need to get a bus and travel to one of the bigger towns and all the businesses in Church Street have got on board.”