Oban has new winter mascot, a giant penguin – nicknamed Pingu – who has taken up a perch by the town’s clock tower.
After last year’s decorations were roundly criticised – this year, after dedicated work from the town’s Christmas lights group, the Argyll port was festooned with brighter and much more festive lights.
Many commented on this year’s lights switch as being the brightest in many years.
Large crowd at Station Square
This year the lights are part of a £20,000 refurbishment project.
Andrew Spence, Oban BID chief executive, said: “A crowd estimated at more than 3000 people attended the BID4Oban annual Reindeer parade and Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday November 26.
“Thankfully the weather was kind during the parade with crowds lining the streets and following the parade from the Corran Halls.
“The lights were switched on by Tegan Irvine from Park Primary School and Caiden Gatward from Kilninver Primary School after winning a competition with Oban Rotary Club.
“The Cairngorm Reindeer Company provided the wonderful tame reindeer who spend their time roaming the wilds of the Cairngorm Mountains throughout the year and are treated to the highest ethical and husbandry standards.”
Major improvements in Oban’s Festive Lights
He continued: “This year has seen major improvements in Oban’s festive lights.
“Following years of neglect, a huge investment has been made in improving and rewiring the infrastructure that supports the lights.
“All the decorations are new including two projectors that are in place on the Old Church in Argyll Square and one that will project onto the gable end of Sutherland Guest House opposite the Corran Halls.
“BID4Oban have also provided new lights for the Oban Hospice Trees outside the Corran Halls. These will be installed soon.
“The five-metre-high penguin in Station Square has proved to be an instant hit with lots of families and children.
“Along with the new lights on the clock tower and additional lights along the shop fronts the area has been significantly enhanced.
“BID4Oban also had all the bus shelters in Station Square deep cleaned prior to the switch-on of the lights. The huge tree at the Rockfield Centre has been strung with new lights with over 1100 metres of lights being used.
“Oban Electrical Services (OES) the main contractor was supported by the Retained Firefighters from Scottish Fire and Rescue Oban to undertake this task which was done in their own time.
“BID4Oban and the Oban Festive Lights Group have worked throughout the year to deliver a much-improved display and through continued fundraising it is hoped that the display in 2023 will be even better.”
Mr Spence thanked the many organisations and businesses in the town who took part in organising the event.
Last year townsfolk were hit with controversy when one Christmas decoration unfortunately looked like a pair of knickers on a washing line.