THE countdown to Christmas has officially begun in Peebles as the festive lights were switched on last weekend.

Beltane Queen Minnie Mitchell and Father Christmas joined forces on Sunday evening (November 26) to bring colour to the town.

Before Peebles was illuminated with a range of lights and displays, Master of Ceremonies councillor Robin Tatler led the crowd in a countdown.

The switch on event also saw the return of the annual Christmas market which welcomed 30 stallholders selling a range of products – from candles and gifts, to venison and sweet treats.

A spokesperson from Peebles Christmas Lights Association said: “A year of hard work for the nine committee members of Peebles Christmas Lights Association came to fruition last Sunday when the Christmas lights were switched on by Beltane Queen Minnie Mitchell and Santa.

“Master of Ceremonies councillor Robin Tatler led the countdown at 5.30pm and the large crowd cheered as the town centre lit up.

“The strings of lights, wall mounts and other features were put up over a six week period by a small band of volunteers.

“New for this year is the Santa and reindeer feature on the façade of the Eastgate Theatre.

“The High Street was closed to traffic to allow for funfair rides and 30 market stalls to be set up which sold everything from candles to venison. Many of the local shops stayed open too, adding to the festive atmosphere.

“The Old Parish Church Bellringers set the scene by playing a medley of Christmas tunes at the beginning of the event, and Kingsland Primary School Choir, Nomad Beat, Peebles Ex Servicemen’s Pipe Band and the Taylor Brothers entertained the crowds during the afternoon.

“Peebles Christmas Lights Association would like to thank Peebles and District Round Table for their involvement this year and is grateful for the continued support of Stobo Castle Health Spa and Glenrath Farms.”