The Christmas countdown on Portland is well and truly underway after residents came out in force to kick off the season.

The Portland Christmas Sparkle was once again held at Easton Square Gardens on Friday evening.

Following the official opening by Portland’s Mayor, Cllr Carralyn Parkes, there were Christmas carols around the tree, music from Sleigher, carols in All Saints Church and a performance by the Royal Manor Theatre in the Methodist Hall.

Meanwhile, the square was dotted with craft stalls, stalls for good causes and activities for children, including donkey riding.

Dorset Echo: Portland Christmas Sparkle 2023

Mayor Carralyn Parkes, pictured below, said: "It is nice to kick off Advent with a wonderful event like this. Lots of the things to do are free. People have put a lot of time and effort into making something for the community.

"This is one of those events that is a little bit of the glue that gels us all together as a community.

"It is so nice to see the smiles on the children's faces.

"Our friends in the Rotary Club were able to get Father Christmas to come, and he is here listening to the children of Portland who are all on the nice list."

Dorset Echo: The event was kicked off by the Mayor Carralyn ParkesThe event was kicked off by the Mayor Carralyn Parkes (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Lucy Elam has attended the Sparkle for years.

She said: "It is wonderful to see so many people. This event is the start of Christmas for me. I can't not be excited about this, especially after you see all the children having fun. It is the noise you want to hear at Christmas.

"We are lucky to live on an island with something like this."

Dorset Echo: Lucy Elam (left) visits the Sparkle every yearLucy Elam (left) visits the Sparkle every year (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Curtis Collins attended with his family.

He said: "It brings everyone together. We come every year. It is supporting the community and we see a lot of regular faces."

Dorset Echo: Curtis Collins with his familyCurtis Collins with his family (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Kayleigh Millett attended with her family and friends.

She said: "It definitely gets you in the Christmas spirit and it is good for all the family."

Dorset Echo: Kayleigh Millett with her family and friendsKayleigh Millett with her family and friends (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Melissa Ginifer attended with her husband Chris and daughter Orla. This is the first time the Ginifer family have attended the Sparkle.

Melissa said: "The whole point of coming down was to support something local and it is busier than I thought it would be which is nice, and everyone seems to be having fun."

Dorset Echo: Melissa, Chris and Orla GiniferMelissa, Chris and Orla Ginifer (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)