THOUSANDS of people turned out for a sparkling spectacular as two west Cumbrian towns switched their Christmas lights on.

There was music and entertainment as both Cockermouth and Whitehaven got into the festive spirit.

In Whitehaven a throng of revellers turned-out for the annual event, as tribute acts George Michael, Dua Lipa and Harry Potter’s Hagrid and Ron Weasley flipped the switch.

There was a slight technical problem when some of the lights did not come on immediately, but this was soon resolved. Revellers also enjoyed a range of musical acts as well as stalls offering mulled wine and hot chocolate as winter warmers.

Luke Johnston, 20, of Whitehaven, said: “As always the local people came out to support the occasion in true Whitehaven style. The whole area was packed full of people having fun and enjoying the various entertainment.”

And Cheryl Frears said: "It was absolutely fabulous had everything Santa, Hogwarts Express train, George Michael, Dua lipa and Taylor Swift tributes and amazing performances from Popsteps dance academy and other local talent."

There was plenty to entertain the crowds in Cockermouth too.

Alison Bembridge, of Keswick, was there with daughter Rosie, four, and friend Chloe Johnson.

"It's our first time and it's been great," said Alison.

"We've been listening to the music, Rosie has had her face painted and enjoyed watching the people on stilts, we've got a glass of prosecco. What could be better!"

Cockermouth Rotary Club was giving away hot chocolates and selling their town calendar. The Round Table were kept busy at their mulled wine and mince pie stall.

Sixth formers from Cockermouth School had made a fantastic range of goods, including handmade chocolate, reindeer food and festive dog biscuits, to raise funds for World Challenge.

There was a real buzz around the United Reformed Church all afternoon, where the Churches Together in the Cockermouth Area had organised lots of fun family activities.

While youngsters made decorations, decorated biscuits and had their faces painted, Cockermouth Mechanics Band kept the parents entertained with lots of Christmas tunes.

There were free hot drinks and mince pies inside and puppets shows upstairs.

Callie Rogers from Seaton was there with her children, Kian, 13, Blake, six, and Georgia, two.

"We love everything about the switch on. I used to live in Cockermouth and have always enjoyed coming.

"The kids like the rides and Georgia loves all the art and craft things," said Callie.

Cockermouth Music Centre Band kicked off the main stage fun. They were followed by Ben Rowlands, Harry Bibby, Stagecoach Theatre, Mandy's Dancing Divas, Luke Mattear and Building Giants.

The annual event is organised by the town council. Cockermouth mayor David Malloy said: "It's been great. The weather's been fantastic and there are plenty of people around. Hopefully all the charities and stalls will have made lots of money."

He took to the main stage to flick the festive switch following the town centre countdown. He was joined by his mayoress wife, Lynn, and niece and nephew, Lexi Dent and Aidan Steel, and local primary pupils: Jacob Carruthers and Erin (All Saints'); Sadie Hetherington and Alfie Wright (Fairfield) and Megan Barritt and Archie Heffernan (St Joseph’s).