Despite poor weather on May 10, in excess of 5,000 spectators lined the streets to welcome ‘The Big Start’ of the Giro d’Italia, councillors have been told.
Giving an update on the cyclists’ arrival in the town, Acting Town Clerk & Chief Executive, Rodger McKnight said the part played by Ballymena last month was a successful one, prompting “very positive” feedback to Council.
Mr McKnight said large numbers of spectators lined the local route to experience the “unique and unforgettable event”, adding that “Northern Ireland/Ballymena truly showed the world how to deliver a Grand Partenza (Big Start).”
The meeting was reminded that a great deal of planning and co-ordination within various Council departments and with other bodies was crucial to the success of Ballymena’s input.
Other local organisations and groups also played an important part and councillors agreed a recommendation to thank all those involved including Harryville Partnership for their support and for carrying out a clean-up in Ballymena South, Ballymena Road Club for staging a guard of honour, Ballymena Town Centre Development Ltd. for hosting local ‘Giro’ events, and Ballymena Chamber for encouraging retail involvement.
Councillors also heard, however, that when staff set about removing the strategically placed Giro ‘welcome’ merchandise after the race passed through, 75% of items including ‘Freddie’ characters, flags, banners, tear drop flags and some bunting had been taken by souvenir hunters.