MINEHEAD found a way to turn back time when the town’s annual Christmas lights were switched on during Victorian-themed late night shopping.
The decades were rolled back as several hundreds of people flocked to the town centre and created a crowd the size of which had not been seen since the early 2000s.
And the centuries were reversed as ‘QueenVictoria’ attended to perform the official switch-on ceremony on Friday (November 24).
Many shop windows were given a Victorian look and owners and staff dressed in period costume to add to the atmosphere.
Town Cllr Ben Jewell, who helped to organise the event, said: “It exceeded our expectations.
“So far, all we have heard are very, very positive comments.
“We had two months and a very limited budget and I would like to think what we have achieved is something we can definitely build on and was very positive for the town.
“It goes to show when the community pulls together what can actually be achieved.
“A lot of businesses said they have not seen crowds like it since the early 2000s.”
Cllr Jewell thanked local members of Rotary and the Lions Club and others for helping with stewarding on the night.
There was festive street entertainment and food, children’s fairground rides, and even a visit from Santa.
He said a lantern-making session in the Beach Hotel was particularly popular with people, as was a lantern-lit procession which followed from the West Somerset Railway Station to Wellington Square.
Leading the way being the Minehead Hobby Horse in a steam-powered truck was Ilfracombe’s Queen Victoria lookalike Rita Clews accompanied by ‘Arthur, Duke of Connaught’, and ‘Lady Rose’.
Cllr Jewell said: “We involved as much of the town as we could given the short space of time and worked closely with Minehead Town Council.
“Now, we want to listen to feedback and see how we can make 2024 even better.
“We hope now that people have seen the success of it more and more people will come forward and come on board to help.”