THERE WAS an entire day of festive fun in Abingdon as the town saw in the Christmas season in spectacular style.

The town centre was full to the brim with tinsel-strewn stalls, live music and children's entertainment on Saturday as thousands came to see the town illuminated.

A Christmas market in Bath Street, had more dozens of craft and food stands from 9am onwards, and in the Market Place there were performances by everyone from the Oxford Caledonian Band to the combined choral force of Rock Choirs from Abingdon, Banbury, Didcot and Oxford.

This year the town also welcomed 90s pop group The Honeyz to perform on stage, and the band were joined by town mayor Jan Morter to switch on the Christmas lights.

The day finished with a dazzling fireworks display by Wallingford-based Illusion Fireworks and a showering of fake snow.

Aidan Quick, 49, attended the festive event with his nine-year-old son Louis.

He said: "I think it's great that they make it a whole day thing, especially the fact that there's lots of entertainment for children. I've been to other places where there's just a bit of carol singing and then the lights go on which isn't as special."

Lee Edwards, from North Abingdon, agreed and for his daughter's Florence, 7, and Elsie, 4, it was a magician who performed tricks, including the traditional rabbit out of the hat, which had been their favourite part of the event.

An inflatable globe filled with fake snow also proved a big hit with youngsters, and while revellers had to contend with rain throughout the day it was a wintery wonderland inside.

The Christmas extravaganza also saw the debut of Santa and his sleigh, with Saint Nicolas heading a parade through the town centre at midday, and then setting up in the Market Place to hear children's wish lists.

He will now make his traditional 10-day jingling journey through the town's streets, a tour that started yesterday and will continue until December 15.

The Christmas institution, which is organised by Abingdon Lions' Club, has been going for more than 30 years.

Excitable children can expect to spot Santa and his wooden sleigh from 6-8pm, with stops including Audlett Drive, Boulter Drive and Hanson Road and a full list of streets available from Abingdon Lions' Club.

Paul Townsend, who organised the event as part of Abingdon Chamber of Commerce, said: "Every year it seems to get bigger and better.

"We used to do the event in the evening on a weekday but the feedback we got from parents was that it was just too late for kids.

"Traders also said they wanted to try a Saturday to bring more people into the town at the weekend. We did it for the first time in 2012 and haven't looked back since."