SANTA came to town to help switch on the Stratford Christmas lights.
Thousands came out to enjoy music by the Shottery St Andrew’s Primary School choir and the Kings Brass band from King Edward VI School.
Mayor Victoria Alcock switched on the lights, while the town council used snow machines to make the evening feel even more festive.
And Santa stopped by on the town hall balcony before going to his grotto.
The first of five Christmas markets was also held, and will now continue every Thursday leading up to the big day between 10am and 8pm selling items including antiques and gifts.