THE cold failed to put off visitors attending a town's annual Christmas festival.

Thousands of people made the trip to Whalley for the village's Pickwick Festival, which has been running for 29 years.

Officially opening this year's Pickwick were members of Whalley In Bloom, who won a gold medal in the Best Small Town category as well as being selected for the 2018 Britain in Bloom National competition next year.

On stage singer Jaycee sang a range of disco, Motown and soul classics as well as some Christmas hits, while the Accrington Pipe Band and Balderstone Brass Band also performed in the village.

Father Christmas made a special appearance at Whalley Methodist Church, while choir students from Whalley Church of England School sung a range of festive songs.

Dozens of children enjoyed the fairground rides set up at the Swan Car Park, including the tea cup ride and a Ferris wheel.

Roger Abell, 67, who lives in Tockholes, has been to the festival three times before and came again to visit his aunt who lives in Whalley.

He said: "It has been really good actually.

"My highlight has been eating a sausage butty from Bavarian Smokies because it was made of rare pork.

"It was delicious."

Amy Radehalgh, 17, who lives in Whalley, said: "I won first prize at the tombola which was crazy.

"I won some white balls.

"It has been such a great day.

"The weather hasn't been too bad which has helped people enjoy the event more."

Neil Martin, the chairman of Whalley Pickwick committee, has helped run the event for 12 years.

He said: "The weather didn't hinder preparations and it has been a fantastic evening.

"It has been so good to see thousands of people here and there has been such a variety in the stallholders we have had on show this year.

"My highlight has been seeing the smiles on people's faces and knowing that this is the start of our town's Christmas."

Around 40 different stalls were set up, selling mulled wine, chocolate reindeer, liquorish, doughnuts and mine pies.

Stallholder Esme Greenwood, 11, who lives in Foulridge, said she really enjoyed her first time visit of the village festival.

She said: "It's been a great day.

"We've sold cupcakes, chocolate reindeers and all sorts.

"This is the first time I've been here and to be here hosting a stall is just amazing.

"I'm so glad I came."

Alyson Flatley, who lives in Oswaldwistle and ran a stall called 'It looks like reindeer', was attending the festival for the second year in a row.

She said: "It has been even better second time around.

"We have been selling a unique Christmas product - a wooden reindeer.

"They are like art structures that can go in your garden, in your house or under the door in your hall way.

"Each reindeer vary in size and can have a different face to the next."

Stallholder Andrew Rigg, who has been attended festival for 15 years, runs Susan's Farmhouse Fudge, based in Salmesbury.

He said: "It has been a really good atmosphere and has been extremely busy.

"We sell mulled wine especially for the festival.

"It's nice to see the festival gets busier and busier every year."