Thousands braved the cold last night to celebrate the beginning of the festive season at the Christmas lights switch on.

The event, organised by Blackburn BID, saw a ‘record 3,000 people’ fill King William Street from 2.30pm on Saturday, November 25, days after Accrington's Christmas light switch on headlined by Junior Andre was a huge hit.

A performance by Katrina’s Dance Academy captivated the crowd with sequences from musicals before the dazzling lights switch on and fireworks display.

Lancashire Telegraph: Eleanor with her two children Whitney and KendallEleanor with her two children Whitney and Kendall (Image: LT)

Eleanor Entcott, 22, from Blackburn brought her two children Whitney and Kendall, aged one and two, to enjoy the switch on for the first time.

She said: “I’ve been before and loved it so I was excited to bring them. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. We’re excited for the light switch on - that’s always the best bit. It’s nice how many people have turned up tonight.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Mick, Michelle, Noah and Thea from BlackburnMick, Michelle, Noah and Thea from Blackburn (Image: LT)

Mick and Michelle were at the event with their 11 year old son Noah and nine year old daughter Thea, who performed on stage with Katrina’s Dance Academy.

The family were excited to support the academy and enjoy the other talented acts performing.

Michelle said: “It’s the third year they’ve done it so the academy have really been looking forward to it all year.

“We’re looking forward to the rest of the night. We don’t often come to town so it’s nice, as long as it doesn’t get too cold!”

Speaking about what it was like to perform on stage, Thea said: “I was really excited because I had a solo. I was Bruce from Matilda so I was very excited.

Mick said: “It’s good to come out because it’s the start of Christmas, it’s time to put the tree up now!”

Lancashire Telegraph: Tyler and Jennifer Riley (left) Riley with their familyTyler and Jennifer Riley (left) Riley with their family (Image: LT)

Jennifer Riley, 38, and her son Tyler Riley, 17, have come to the switch on every year and have enjoyed it just as much this time round.

Jennifer said: “It’s cold but we’re still happy to be here anyway. We’re getting into the Christmas spirit. I’m looking forward to the lights and the fireworks and the dancing has been great.”

Tyler added: “We’re fully excited for Christmas now.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Katrina's Dance Academy performerKatrina's Dance Academy performer (Image: LT)

Aleeza Isa, 15, and Alisha Seedat, 14, from charity One Voice Blackburn hosted the ‘From Broadway to Blackburn’ event which featured an interview with the stars of this year’s panto at King George’s Hall, Aladdin.

A fireworks display, sponsored by Rummage Rescuers CIC, wowed the crowds following the switching on of the Christmas lights.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen councillor Parwaiz Akhtar and Mayoress Shagufta AkhtarMayor of Blackburn with Darwen councillor Parwaiz Akhtar and Mayoress Shagufta Akhtar (Image: LT)

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Parwaiz Akhtar said: “It’s been absolutely wonderful to see so many people coming tonight for the lights switch on. It’s been fantastic to talk to people and see so many enjoying themselves.

“There are around 3,000 people here which is really good for Blackburn. I think we should have more of these events to get the community together to enjoy and celebrate religious festivals and cultural events.”

Catherine Price, Blackburn town centre BID manager, said: “It’s been an absolutely amazing event. We’ve had some amazing special guests and all our performers have been absolutely phenomenal.

“We’ve had record numbers of people turn out this afternoon and it’s just been fantastic so roll on Christmas.”