Dorchester was packed out as people turned out en masse to celebrate the festive season at this year’s Christmas Cracker.

The event saw residents head out to the town centre on Thursday to enjoy the winter event and get fully into the festive spirit as Christmas Day itself rapidly approaches.

With lights, trees, Christmas music and stalls filling the streets of Dorchester, it was hard to avoid the cheer.

Alistair Chisholm, Dorchester’s Town Crier, led a lantern lit procession from Brewery Square to St Peter’s Church in High West Street. Dorchester Youth & Community Centre and Damers First School were to thank for crafting the lanterns.

Upon arrival outside the church, Mr Chisholm greeted the crowds who had showed up to celebrate as the Christmas Lights were readied to be switched on.

Mr Chisholm said: “What a wonderful town we live in. It’s worth shouting about.”

He was joined on stage by characters from Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna, who pressed the button to turn on the lights at 6.30pm.

Several notable organisations, including the Rotary Club and Julia’s House, turned up for the event too to join in with the community’s festive celebrations.

Many of the Dorchester residents who turned up had participated in the event on previous years.

One such person was Gemma Galloway, who said: “We did the lantern parade last year, it is really nice. It is nice to get all different groups within the community walking down with their lanterns.”

Shaun O’Hara said: “It is very nice. It is good for the High Street, good for the community and good for the Christmas feel.”

While there were many regulars out enjoying the event, for others it was their first time at the Christmas Cracker.

Luke Spinks said: “We have only lived in Dorchester for a year. It is a good town. This event definitely brings people out and about.”

Another was Dorchester resident Derek Caws, who said: “This is our first time here. It’s good to see the town this busy.”

There were also a large number of Christmas stalls through the busy town centre, selling food, mulled wine, rugs, jewellery, plants and more.

One such stall was staffed by Jess Fowler, who was selling homemade goodies and food to raise money for a journey to help people and teach sport and English in Thailand, Bali and Cambodia in October.

She said: “To make a difference in someone else’s life, I can’t wait to make an impact.”