EDWARDIAN Evening in Okehampton has been hailed a success this year, with hundreds of people filling the town centre for the event.

The smell of hot chestnuts and a hog roast wafted through the streets as hundreds of people explored the town’s shops, met elves from the Okehampton Elf Outpost and got to say hello to live reindeer.

Okehampton Round Table brought Santa’s sleigh into town and the town mayor led a Christmas carol service outside St James’ Church, with the spectacular backdrop of the town’s Christmas lights.

The carol service was given some extra oomph by the brass section of the Okehampton College, Big Band, fresh from their band tour of North America. Okehampton Excelsior Silver Band, meanwhile, performed outside Martin’s butchers, who served their famous hog roast.

There was also music from a barbershop quartet and a traditional barrel organ to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. The whole event is organised by Okehampton and District Chamber of Trade.

Town mayor Cllr Jan Goffey said: ‘As mayor of Okehampton I was delighted to see so many people out in the town on Edwardian Evening. Mayor’s Carols in Fore Street had nearly a hundred people singing along to the accompaniment of some of the students from Okehampton College Big Band and their superb leaders!

‘The shops were full of people and there was a lovely atmosphere in town. Well over 100 children visited Father Christmas in the museum and the reindeer in Red Lion Yard submitted to lots of pats and admiration.

‘Our Christmas lights are the best in Devon, or so I was told by many people! So well done, Okehampton Chamber of Trade!’

Chairman of the chamber Linda Harper said: ‘What a fantastic crowd we had in town for Edwardian Evening — the town was buzzing and the atmosphere was brilliant.

‘We had more shops opening to give the town a great late night shopping experience that made it worth coming into town for. We had some quirky little stalls as well as some familiar sights.

‘The reindeer were a real hit again this year and the elves were really busy at the Elf Outpost.

‘It was a truly magical start to the festive season.’

Linda said she was delighted that the town council donated £1,500 towards the upgrades and repairs to the town’s Christmas lights.

‘A lot of money has been spent making the upgrades and we have been fortunate that so many members of our community have been so generous, not only with financial contributions but also with their time. ‘

• See this week’s Times for more pictures by James Bird.