Charlotte Atherton, aged 6, and Emily Barker-Fox, 7, followed in the footsteps of TV stars and local celebrities when they helped town mayor John Colegrave turn on the street decorations.
The event added seasonal sparkle to a dull weather day and the switch-on was a fabulous finale to an occasion that brought Christmas cheer to shoppers and visitors.
The lights festival, organised by Banbury Town Council and sponsored by Castle Quay, included a Christmas market, funfair, Santa’s grotto, food and drink stalls, face painting, dance displays, choirs, live music and a firework display.
Charlotte and Emily were the winners of a competition to design Banbury’s official Christmas card.
The finished card, with Charlotte’s Banbury Cross picture on the back and Emily’s Christmas canal boat drawing on the front, will be sent by Cllr Colegrave to civic dignitaries throughout Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties.
Cllr Colegrave said on Sunday: “The lights festival is always popular and draws huge crowds. It launches Christmas in Banbury and the street illuminations add excitement and seasonal warmth to the atmosphere.”
Charlotte said: “I’d been looking forward to the day and it was really good fun. I thought the fireworks were lovely.”
Emily agreed: “It was great being on stage and seeing the lights come on when we pressed the button.”