Get switched on to Christmas in Randalstown

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Randalstown will be getting into the festive spirit on Friday night with the Christmas lights switch-on ceremony.

Moore’s Lane will be a hive of activity in the run up to the switch on with music and street entertainers bringing festive cheer.

Santa will also be making an appearance and children can visit his Grotto from 7pm to tell him what’s on their Christmas wish list and receive a present.

World of Owls is coming and will have a stand on the lane with their spectacular birds and animals.

Circus artists from the Belfast Circus School will be performing, and choirs from local primary schools will be in fine voice to sing all your favourite Christmas Carols.

Members of the Ardan Theatre Company will also be singing and the local Young Farmers will have huge tractors decorated for Christmas, and Kernohans will be bringing some of their enormous lorries also suitably festively decorated.

An annual feature of the Randalstown Christmas Switch-On is the Schools Colouring Competition, which was instigated and sponsored by the old Dorma Factory, and which is now sponsored by Hutchinson Care Homes.

All primary school children in the district have the opportunity to enter this competition which is judged by professional artists and prizes for the different categories will be given out by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The official switch-on will get underway at 8pm officiated by Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Councillor Paul Hamill, accompanied by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Vera McWilliams.

When all the excitement is over – or before if you like - you can warm up with a free tea or coffee and a mince pie in the Scout Hall with the compliments of Kearney’s, Mace, Kenny’s Spar, Randal Bakery, Truffles Tea Rooms, and Spar who generously donate all the provisions for the refreshments free of charge.

George Graham, Chairman of Randalstown ARCHES Association who organise the event each year, said: “We love the Christmas Lights Switch-On as it is the perfect start to Christmas in the town and we are delighted that so many people attend and take part in a wide variety of ways.

“As always we are indebted to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for the funding which enables us to organise such a happy community event.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to the local traders of Randalstown who continue to provide us with advertisements and food.

“We are also greatly indebted to local traders who fund different aspects of the celebrations and, of course, the event would not take place at all if it weren’t for the input of a large number of volunteers who help in the run-up and on the night itself.

“We can always use more help so if you have time to spare we would be most grateful for your assistance”.

This event has been organised by ARCHES for well over 20 years but for the past two years the Randalstown Chamber of Trade has held a Christmas Market on the day after the Lights Switch-on.

This year it will be on Saturday, November 25, also in Moore’s Lane, from 10am to 5pm, rounding off the launch of the town’s festive season.