Santa made an early visit to Helston on Friday for the town’s first Christmas fair.

Organised by a team from the Helston Business Improvement Partnership, headed by businessman Robert Williams who organises the popular lights switch on each year, the new evening event was designed to bring extra trade into the town and be a second night of festive celebrations.

Shops stayed open to welcome visitors, with some providing their own entertainment – including at Fruit & Veg 4 U in Meneage Street, where Santa greeted youngsters in a downstairs grotto.

His main involvement in the evening, however, was a parade through the town in his sleigh lit with coloured fairy lights.

With his reindeers resting ahead of a busy night on Christmas Eve, Santa was towed by a vintage 1956 Ferguson T20 diesel tractor driven by Bobby Eustis.

The familiar figure attracted lots of attention from excited children, who were keen to have their photos taken with him.

Rachel Jones, company secretary with the Helston Business Improvement Partnership (HBIP), thanked everyone that attended, saying: “With the weather staying dry it was lovely to see so many smiling faces as Santa travelled through town.

“HBIP volunteers have spent months arranging and coordinating the Christmas events in town and marshalling on the night and they have done an excellent job so a big thank you to all who helped.”

Helston Town Band played festive tunes outside the Methodist Church, while members of Helston Baptist Church – dressed in Victorian costume – sang carols at various places in the town centre.

For the children there were fairground rides, while hungry visitors had plenty of choice from food vans. There were also some stalls set up in Meneage Street.

Truly Crumptious from Helston, selling homemade crumpets from her vintage van in Meneage Street, said on the night: “It’s been lovely. It has been so well supported and there is a lovely atmosphere.”

The HBIP has thanked Mr Eustis for towing Santa and helping him decorate the sleigh with lights and music, as well as the Serco radio workshop from RNAS Culdrose for sponsoring the cost of the sleigh and two Christmas post boxes in which children could post letters to Santa.

The department also loaned and installed the speaker units that were used to play festive music around town, with Robbie Roberts and Paul Read given special thanks for their work.

Thanks have also been given to Helston’s police officers, St John Ambulance, Helston Town Band, Swamp Circus, Lizard Stallions, Penny Red and all the buskers and choir groups that added to the festive feel of the evening.

Rachel added: “Of course, big thanks go to Santa for taking the time to visit Helston and for saying hello to all the children that visited. The HBIP will be working hard throughout the year to ensure the Christmas events in town will be even bigger and better next year.”