Saturday’s Christmas Lights Switch-On officially gave Altrincham its busiest day since records began.
Independent footfall data provided by Springboard showed that the town welcomed an incredible 47,883 visitors on Saturday – 12.8% up on last year.
That’s the biggest number since Altrincham began officially monitoring footfall back in 2014, and capped a fantastic week for the town after it was named England’s best high street in the Great British High Street awards.
Saturday’s Christmas Lights Switch-On, organised by Altrincham Unlimited in association with Hits Radio, saw appearances from Pop Idol star Gareth Gates, CBeebies’ Sid Sloane, Coronation Street actress Cath Tyldsley and young social media star Braydon Bent. Hits Radio’s Wes Butters hosted.
Earlier in the day there had been performances from the Park Road Academy choir and Timperley’s soulful Amanda Jane Heywood.
And for the first time there was an opportunity to watch the switch-on show on a big screen positioned close to Costa Coffee on George Street.
Altrincham traders, bar owners and residents hailed the “real buzz” generated by the event.
Pamela Macauley, from Vintage Angel Design on Moss Lane, said her shop had enjoyed its busiest November trading day ever.
“There was a real buzz around the town with lots of customers visiting the independent retailers on Moss Lane saying how excited they were about the show,” she said. “We’re now looking forward to the town’s Lantern Parade which coincides with Small Business Saturday on 1st December.”
David Vanderhook, owner of The Con Club, said: “Saturdays are always a fantastic day for us, the restaurant is constantly busy, and the bar is always bustling, but this was quite possibly one of our busiest afternoons of the year so far.”
Local resident Louise Lowes added: “It was the best switch on in years, a great variety of entertainment, well organised and the addition of an extra screen meant we had a close up view of the action on the stage. All three generations of my family loved the show.”
Both the show and the Christmas lights were funded by the Altrincham BID and the Stamford Quarter shopping centre.
The switching-on of the lights is the first of many festive activities happening in Altrincham this winter.
The Stamford Square stage returns on Saturday December 1st for festive performances from school choirs and local dance troupes.
The annual lantern parade, which made its debut last year, will work its way around the town from 4pm on December 1st.
For those wishing to join the parade, there will be free drop-in lantern making workshops throughout the day at Total Fitness on Denmark Street and Aura Music Academy will kick-off the festivities with carols in Goose Green prior to the parade.
Other festive highlights include a visit from Santa’s Reindeer to the Stamford Quarter Shopping Centre on Saturday December 15th and pop-up Santa’s Grottos on all Saturdays between November 17th and December 8th.