Council reveals plans for Christmas festivities

Rachel McNabb

Reporter:

Rachel McNabb

BALLYMENA'S Christmas Lights Switch-On will take place this year on Thursday, November 18.

The event will follow council's successful format from 2019 with street parades, performance from local talent, choirs, an appearance from Santa and festive characters in the streets.

It will coincide with the Economic Development's “Street Scenes” project which uses vacant properties and town centre sites for video projections and messages by local stakeholders.

In addition, council has secured the provision of artisan street markets in Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus for the festive season.

Details of the festivities were included in a council report on events taking place up to the end of 2021, including Christmas and the NI Centenary, which was presented to last week's council meeting.

Also included are plans for Centenary fireworks at People's Park in Ballymena on Friday, December 10 which is a specially commissioned outdoor theatre piece featuring monologues and dialogues from characters recalling significant social events of the last 100 years.

According to the report there will be a 40 minute performance of music from Northern Ireland in the past 100 years – from Ruby Murray to Ryan Mullan – and the night will finish with a fireworks display.

Referring to the Borough's Christmas events the report states: “Remembrance Sunday is November 14 and no Christmas trees will be mounted until after this date. The Christmas Lights Switch-Ons will take place in Ballymena on Thursday, November 18, Larne on Friday, November 19 and Carrickfergus on Saturday, November 20.”

The report adds: “These live events will be subject to the advice from The Executive Office and will have to be reformatted if restrictions on outdoor gatherings are tightened. If required events can revert to the virtual format used in 2020.”

Speaking at the council meeting Mayor, Cllr William McCaughey said: “Over the weekend we had an excellent response to our halloween events with 10,500 in attendance at the People's Park in Ballymena, 9,000 at Carnfunnock and 3,000 at the centenary Lumiere on the walls of Carrickfergus castle.

“I am delighted that residents of all ages turned out to enjoy the superb entertainment arranged by council and their staff.

“Coming out of Covid it is tremendous to see our community come out and enjoy local events which encourage visitors to the Borough and increase footfall in our towns as well as supporting our local economy.”

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