BALLYMONEY’S annual Christmas lights switch-on last Thursday night may not have taken on the glitz and glamour of some other towns, but for fun, enthusiasm and effort, few could have any complaints.
Hundreds thronged the Diamond to listen to music, both live and recorded, as well as enjoying the appearance of Santa Claus accompanied by his little Elves, along with characters in colourful costumes to formally launch the Borough’s Christmas celebrations.
Santa occupied a prominent spot in his sledge and was briefly joined by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Winnie Mellett, who was delighted with the turn out.
A long line of parents with their children queued up to have their photo taken with Santa and Sam Cummins and his wife, Julie, kindly brought along their gleaming Harley Davidson in case Santa needed a ride home.
Every street and car park was occupied but some were somewhat bemused at a number of the thoroughfares being closed off.
For example, main routes into the spacious Townhead Street car park were closed off by bollards and only those who were aware of access from Eastermeade were able to get to the park.
A number of traders offered 20 per cent discount on the day which also helped bring in the crowds and restaurants did a brisk business – ample proof that when the town organises an event, the public respond.
It is known that the Council had a limited budget to spend on the lights ceremony and official Joanne McLaughlin and her helpers are to be commended for putting on an entertaining show.
The Mayor, Councillor Evelyne Robinson, had an important engagement elsewhere so it was left to Santa and his helpers to perform the official switch-on to loud cheering from those present.
Independent councillor Roma McAfee was also getting into the festive spirit, helping to organise the events around the platform including facepainting and handing out sweets to the children.
With the town now brightly lit with coloured lights and an impressive Christmas tree, the run-up to the festive season looks like a busy one in Ballymoney!
Speaking after the event Inspector David Anderson praised the local community stating that the event ‘passed off successfully without any incidents’.
The local police service would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.