LARGE crowds turned out to see The Grinch, go skating, and explore Ventnorville at the weekend.

Despite some driving rain and fierce winds, the annual Grinchmas event was well-supported, with almost 1,000 people enjoying the new attraction of the skating rink at Ventnor Winter Gardens, and good numbers running in the Santa Dash on the beach in the drizzle.

Choirs and musicians performed at the festive market, and children enjoyed the fairground rides.

A spokesperson said: "The Ventnorville team would like to thank all sponsors, advertisers, volunteers and above all the people who came out and supported the various events taking place throughout the town, and who visited the local shops, cafes and eateries during the weekend.

"Many shopkeepers joined in by opening late on Friday and during Sunday. St Catherine's Church and the Baptist Church hosted the craft market and the country market and many local groups including 3rd Ventnor Scouts, Inner Wheel, Ventnor Lions and Ventnor Enhancement organised events, manned stalls and provided volunteers.

"The two new attractions for 2018, the skating rink and the Ventnor Bayke-Off proved very popular with nearly 1,000 children and adults taking to the synthetic ice, and there were some spectacular showstoppers, Christmas bakes and cupcakes entered in the cake competition.

"The town was decorated with Christmas trees, reindeer, banners and bunting. Students from the IW College produced some great artwork to help brighten up the festive market and the Winter Gardens auditorium.

"Santa's Grotto had to stay open longer than planned due to the queues of eager children wanting to see Father Christmas and the Grinch, and the dog fancy dress competition had its highest numbers of entries yet, with some very creative costumes."

Thanks went to Wightlink for sponsoring the transport of the skating rink, and Ventnor Town Council who supported the event and allowed free parking in their car parks across the weekend.

Bobby Oddy, events manager for Ventnor Winter Gardens, added: "We last had a skating rink here more than four decades ago, and people still fondly remember it, so it was fabulous to see skating back in Ventnor.

"It was lovely to see whole families enjoying an activity together, turning the phones off and having fun. It was very successful and busy all weekend."

The weekend finished with a lantern parade around town and carols in Ventnor Park.