BRIGHTON has welcomed the festive season with a bang as the city's Christmas lights have been switched on.

BBC Radio Sussex's Allison Ferns was joined by her fellow Aladdin pantomime cast member Carl Tracey to turn on the Christmas lights in the first event of its kind since the start of the pandemic.

Hundreds gathered in East Street and enjoyed Christmas tunes from vintage-inspired swing group Hit the Silk, The Theatre Workshop's choir, and songs from up-and-coming bands from Greater Brighton Metropolitan College.

Along with the traditional Christmas lights in The Lanes, East Street and at the Clock Tower, brand new street art-inspired lights, designed by Brighton street artists, were lit up along North Street and Western Road.

Among the new lights include a toy robot walking past a stereo, a reindeer lit up in different colours, and an alien wearing a Santa hat.

The Argus: An alien wearing a Santa hat next to some present appears on one of the new Christmas lights in North StreetAn alien wearing a Santa hat next to some present appears on one of the new Christmas lights in North Street

Lights celebrating the uniqueness of North Laine were also switched on in Bond Street, Gardner Street and Kensington Gardens.

The lights were organised by Brilliant Brighton, a collection of 517 businesses within the city's Business Improvement District.

Gavin Stewart, CEO of Brilliant Brighton, said: "We hope that it will help get the community into the festive spirit, and celebrate our brand new lighting scheme - a gift to the city centre from our 517 retail, leisure and hospitality businesses."

Allison fully embraced the Christmas cheer at the event and said she was thrilled that the event could go ahead after last year's hiatus.

She said: "It's so good that we can all be here in person. No one's on mute - we can actually stand side by side celebrate Brighton coming to life this Christmas."

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