THE festive season officially got underway in the Wee County as Alloa held their annual Christmas lights switch on event.

A big crowd descended on Alloa’s town centre to watch the spectacular event, marking the beginning of Christmas in Clacks.

Organised by Alloa First, the switch on has become a focal point of Alloa’s winter calendar, with families enjoying a day out full of festive fun and entertainment.

Children got to enjoy a festive fun day at Santa’s Grotto, with an option for quiet Santa available for kids who don’t like loud noises.

Stalls lined the streets from local traders for the usual Christmas market, while a range of community groups provided day round entertainment.

Sauchie Community Choir and Clackmannan District Brass Band performed for the public on the streets, with additional performances also coming from Bowmar Pipe Band, Spotlight Theatre and the Lochies School Makaton Choir.

Children got the opportunity to post their wish lists to Santa and, if they provided their name and address on it, would receive replies.

Diane Brown, project manager for Alloa First, said: “The annual Switch On event is always a real highlight of the year for the town centre and once again the local community didn’t let us down by turning out in their hundreds.

"We’d like to thank everyone who braved the freezing cold to join in the festivities.

"We’d also like to thank everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes to make it a success including all the local community performers who took part throughout the day.

"This event is always a great way to showcase our local talent. This year we were delighted to add to the programme Lochies Makaton Rock Choir and Clackmannanshire Community Brass Band.

"The real challenge this year was for the lighting contractor to work round the lighting restrictions imposed by Clackmannanshire Council. Earlier in the year.

"we were informed by the council that the usual framed motifs could not be used on the lamp posts due to public health and safety as many of them are showing signs of distress and imminent failure.

"This meant major restrictions but we’ve managed to work round this and hopefully everyone is pleased we have a town centre that is bright and cheerful.

"We’re already looking at how we can work to improve the lights for next year.”

Alloa First set up the Elf Trail throughout the town, with 40 elves hidden across Alloa for people to find.

The event was attended by Provost Donald Balsillie who judged the shop windows that evening as part of a best-dressed competition.

“It was cold but the rain and snow stayed off and many people enjoyed the festivities that were on, entertainment was enjoyed by everyone," he said.

“One of the main highlights is that all the shopkeepers made a tremendous effort for the window displays, it was great to look at them all.

“I was delighted to judge the best dressed window competition, which was won by The Gate charity shop.

“The hunt the elf comp is on until December 27, which is fantastic. Great event all round, great turnout from parents and children.

“I’d like to thank Alloa BID for all their hard work in putting the Christmas lights on and the various events they do.”