HUNDREDS of people got into the festive spirit in Burnley as the town’s Christmas lights were switched on by children’s TV character Dora the Explorer.

Despite the damp, cold weather Burnley town centre was bustling with people old and young on this afternoon.

The fun kicked off at noon with street entertainment including a climbing wall, other Army activities, performances from the Burnley Alliance Silver Band and a glitter tattoo stand provided by the Scouts.

There were also children’s fairground rides and an appearance from Father Christmas and his sleigh.

The highlight of the event was a stage set up by the bandstand which featured performances from local singers Tom Shaw, Grace O’Malley, Helen James and Nicole Talmer.

Dance group Shell’s Belles also took to the stage before the grand finale song showcase from It’s My Party and switch on at 5pm, which was marked by a fireworks display.

Onlooker Adam Smith, 30, from Burnley, took his four year old son Kai to the switch-on for the first time.

He said: “It’s been a great event. There has been a fantastic atmosphere and it has been really well organised.

"Even though the weather is cold and wet it doesn’t seem to have put people off coming. Hopefully next year will be even better.”

The switch-on marks the start of Christmas late night shopping in Burnley, with many shops staying open till 8pm every Thursday from November 25, in the run-up to Christmas.

Click on the link below to see our photo gallery from the big switch-on.