An annual Christmas lights festival returned to a park in east Oxford this evening as illuminated trees were met with lanterns, choirs and drummers.

The series of festive events began today at Larkrise Primary School in east Oxford where a procession of young lantern bearers left the site at 4.30pm to leave their striking ornaments in Florence Park.

Oxford Mail: Lantern parade - painted by year three students at Larkrise Primary.Lantern parade - painted by year three students at Larkrise Primary. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

Exhibitions, workshops, light parades, installations, music, craft, food and festivity will fill the streets until Sunday November 19 as part of the Oxford Christmas Lights Festival.

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Fusion Arts project manager Cathrine Poppensieker, said: "I think community is so damn important these days.

"Florence Park has an amazing community as it is.

"I really love to make kids happy and I can see that they are happy when I do a project like lanterns."

Ms Poppensieker suggested that the organisation, which arranged the "arts side of things" for tonight's event, could have done with a little more funding as this had apparently been cut in recent years.

Oxford Mail: Tree Cathedral - done by lighting engineer Neil who went to a polytechnic in Oxford and comes back to see friends from time to time.Tree Cathedral - done by lighting engineer Neil who went to a polytechnic in Oxford and comes back to see friends from time to time. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

She added: "When there is a pinch point arts is the first to go."

Co-organiser at Flo Fest, Abi Simmons, said: "It's a lovely community get-together in the middle of November when it's all getting a bit dark and soggy."

There were numerous stalls including one selling candyfloss and another with hot churros as well as a brightly-lit carousel.

Other notable features were the "five ghost women" made of fence wire, a "mushroom parlour", lanterns from students at Activate Learning and of course, the particularly striking "Tree Cathedral".

Oxford Mail: Five mesh 'ghost women'.Five mesh 'ghost women'. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

Attendee and east Oxford local Liz Hodgson said: "It's a really lovely event with lots of surprises."

When asked why she'd decided to attend, Ms Hodgson replied she had "found myself here".

Another attendee and mother of four-year-old Leo, Sophie Rufus, added: "It's been a very child-friendly event so far and very nice that there are all these independent stores."

Oxford Mail: Venders at independent candyfloss store.Venders at independent candyfloss store. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

Meanwhile, in the centre of Oxford, there was a giant son et lumiere projection at the Radcliffe Humanities Building, as per usual tradition.

Oxford Mail: The Radcliffe Humanities Building in 2017.The Radcliffe Humanities Building in 2017.

The Victorian Christmas Market on Broad Street will continue over this weekend, from 10am - 8pm on Saturday and 10am - 5pm on Sunday.

A bobble hats vendor at the market, Chris Hartley, told the Oxford Mail: "The organisation of this market is good, but it's all been put on at the wrong time.

"It's too early.

Oxford Mail: The Victorian Christmas Market.The Victorian Christmas Market. (Image: Photo: Oxford Mail)

"They couldn't have picked a worse weekend."

Tomorrow's schedule of festival events will include letterpress workshops, breakfast with Santa at the Covered Market, and the continuation of the Florence Park 'FloFest' which organisers say will promise a DJ at 9.30pm and "massive laser show".