It was an evening made for celebration – and the people of the locality took full advantage of it. There was a massive turnout for the arrival of Santa and Mrs Claus in front of the River Island Hotel on Friday evening as dusk gathered its veil.
There was an air of great excitement on the street around the hotel as the time approached and the crowd gathered. And it was a crowd. I’m sure someone would have done a rough head count on the assembly. It would make an impressive figure.
The show the traders put on deserved the turnout it got and they were visibly delighted with themselves. The children and parents were thrilled and the unattached adults and grand-parents just had to give the child within its expression and they beamed.
It was all put together at fairly short notice and it all fell into place as it was meant to.
Santa and Mrs Claus were mobbed as soon as they arrived on the big, red bike. They were followed by Elsa and part of the set from the Frozen exhibit from Crag Cave.
There were thousands of photographs taken of the colourful event and people with trays of food and treats mingled with the crowd in the beautiful crisp November evening.
Gerard Murphy acted as MC on the occasion and he and guest of honour, Siobhán Fleming counted down to the big switch-on and Siobhán threw the switch and the Christmas atmosphere and spirit just descended on us all.
You won’t believe it – but there are people planning for next year already. They’re saying out loud that the street should be closed off and the traffic diverted off down Church Street. And it probably will because this Friday evening was one ball of fun for people of all ages. The little people had so much to amaze and amuse them that they’re probably dreaming of it now as I write in the early hours of Saturday morning.
It was a job well done. However, all the planning in the world wouldn’t have done without the kindness of the weather and the way it fell for the organisers. It’s a great start to the Christmas season for the town and the businesses therein. It just goes to show what can be done when minds are put to it. And that’s a point that wasn’t lost on too many in the attendance. It’s probably a round-about way of saying ‘Well Done Lads.”