CATAPULTING the city into a scene from A Christmas Carol, Worcester's ninth Victorian Fayre got off to a winning start last night.

Streams of Christmas shoppers converged on more than 100 stalls selling seasonal goodies, while entertainers put their own magic into the first night of the four-day extravaganza.

City assistant tourism and marketing manager Clare Booker, who has organised the event for five years, said she was pleased with the turnout.

"All the stallholders had an excellent evening and everything went really smoothly," she said.

"It was quite a mild night and there were definitely more people than last year."

Shefali Ozar, from BBC Midlands Today, also dropped in to soak up the fayre's atmosphere.

Miss Booker said the number of coaches descending on the city over the weekend could be a record breaker.

"There are already 310 booked in from all over the country and abroad, compared to 250 last year," she said.

"We're hoping for up to 100,000 visitors this time."

Many new features will be on show today, Saturday and Sunday, including a Christmas carriage of ghosts and a Victorian Santa Claus.

Old favourites, such as stilt-walking clown Mr Doo and juggling Victorian gentleman Professor Optical, will also be making an appearance.