BLACKWOOD town centre was in full festive swing when its annual Christmas market took place along the High Street at the weekend.

Children enjoyed funfair rides, dressing up as characters from the Nativity for a photograph, petting donkeys, and making their own pottery.

Santa dropped in to meet the children, and was accompanied by a real reindeer.

John Evans, from Bargoed, was visiting with his family.

He said: “We appreciate the Christmas market as it adds a bit of festive cheer to the town.

“We have bought some presents and enjoyed having a look around. We like to support local Christmas events.”

Among the many stalls was trader Linda Webber, from Newport.

She runs with friend Tony Senese, selling home-made jewellery and hand- painted name signs.

She said: “Saturday was really busy, so busy that you couldn’t see between the people shopping.

“It has been a successful weekend for traders and I think it’s a great way to show off our produce, and people enjoy being able to pop in and out of the different stalls.”

Queuing up to meet Santa with her two-year- old daughter was Gemma Richards, from Caerphilly.

She said: “I think this year’s market has been really good and my daughter loves coming to meet Santa.

“It’s a good day out for families, with plenty of activities for children to do.”

Stalls included Helen’s Homebakes, La Bonne Crepe, The Fudge Box and Tudor Brewery.

Also reaping the benefits of the Christmas market were the town’s many shops, with visitors taking the time to so a spot of Christmas shopping.

Ms Webber added that although yesterday was much quieter than Saturday due to the overcast weather, custom started to pick up later in the afternoon as people wrapped up and braved the chill.