The streets and Market Square of Cartmel were packed by excited crowds for the start of this year’s Priory Advent Festival and the switch-on of the village’s Christmas lights.

The event was blessed with much better weather than last year as happy groups browsed the shops and stalls around the village and attracted well over 1,000 visitors on the evening.

The Priory’s festival this year has a stained glass “Window on the World” theme with local individuals, organisations and businesses submitting more than 40 exhibits on designs of their choice for display in the Priory until Sunday, December 8th between 9.30am and 5.30pm daily.

Imaginative and artistic window subjects vary from traditional Christmas and seasonal scenes, through local features

and attractions, to contemporary concerns about society and the environment.

All the Cartmel peninsula schools participated in the event this year. Admission is free and programmes will cost

£1 (including tokens for the visitor to vote for their favourite exhibit).

The Priory’s festival launch co-incided with the official switch-on of Cartmel’s Christmas lights. A Christmas market offered an impressive range of seasonal goods, gifts and fare as a jazz band provided background music and free mulled wine and mince pies were served.

A procession by Father Christmas in his horse carriage accompanied by his reindeers led a procession from the Priory

to the Square for the official switch-on ceremony carried out by Irini Tzortzoglou, BBC Masterchef Champion for 2019.

Irini also provided the world’s largest marshmallow of Pudsey Bear which she had bought at auction, portions of

which were for sale for the benefit of the Jigsaw Children’s Hospice. The crowds stayed on late into the evening to enjoy the atmosphere and listen to Flookburgh Band as they sampled the seasonal hospitality of the village’s

abundant hostelries.

Proceeds from the Priory exhibition will be shared between local foodbanks and church funds. Ten percent of the takings from the village market and lights event will go to the Jigsaw Children’s Hospice charity.