THE true essence of festivities was celebrated at the Clitheroe Christmas Festival on Saturday.

Families and friends took part in lots of Christmas themed activities across the town.

The cold, crisp weather added to the day, which was packed full of things to do.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the walking nativity, which started at the Swan Courtyard.

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Youngsters, donning the traditional three wise men, Joseph and Mary costumes paraded around the town to a cheerful crowd lined up along the streets.

More than a thousand people who wanted to hear some festive music were treated to an array of Christmas carols at the Clitheroe Castle bandstand.

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Children who were on Father Christmas' nice list were able to meet the man himself,and collect a little gift, at a grotto at the United Reformed Church in Castle Gate.

An elf hunt also took place throughout the town - those who took part were given a map and had to search for the elves and complete a puzzle.

A Clitheroe Christmas Festival organiser spokesman said: "Thanks to all who visited the Clitheroe Christmas Festival on Saturday.

"The weather was truly festive and you all took full advantage of it."

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There were several festival stalls scattered throughout the town centre selling lots of gifts, trinkets and food.

Inside Clitheroe Castle was lots of children's activities, as well as craft stalls.

John Richards, 44, from Clitheroe, said: "It's been a fantastic day full of festive things to do.

"The weather has been brilliant and helped make it feel extra Christmassy.

"I will be back next year no, doubt."

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Mother Julie Harrison, 36, with daughter Kayleigh, 5, said: "It was a great day out for the little ones.

"It's easy on the pennies, it's local and it's memorable and gets everyone outdoors.

"Why go to Manchester when you've got something fantastic on your doorstep."

Christmas markets will also run on 7, 14 and 21 of this month at the Clitheroe’s Bullring area with the Christmas light switch on going ahead this Saturday.