A COLD and frosty afternoon failed to put off the crowds at Penrith’s sparkling Christmas lights switch-on ceremony.

Residents and festive shoppers gathered enthusiastically as the countdown to the big day in the town really kicked into top gear - and with style.

Activities got underway at 3.30pm with a colourful Jam Jar lantern parade through the town centre.

In keeping with the festive theme, and the popularity of the highly-anticipated Disney sequel Frozen 2, Princess Elsa also made an appearance, and stopped for selfies with youngsters.

Just after 4pm as the sun began to set, crowds gathered to watch BBC presenter Stuart Maconie press the all-important button to light up the town.

A regular visitor to Penrith, Stuart - who currently hosts a show on BBC 6Music - dashed up from Manchester for the grand illumination.

Joanne Hope from Penrith was one of many who attended.

She said: “I thought the lights were lovely this year. My daughter particularly liked the giant angels.

“It was a great atmosphere and nice to see local schools involved.”

Dan Harding, organiser of Penrith BID, who were behind the event, told the News & Star: “Penrith Sparkle was the first event of its kind we’ve done, and I’m delighted with how it went.

“I’d estimate about a couple of thousand visitors came to the town over the course of the day, and it was great to see all the new lights up and running. Thanks to all those who donated money and helped make it such a success.”