Mid and East Antrim to light up for the festive season

Evie Morrison, aged five, with Santa.  INCT 45-740-CON
Evie Morrison, aged five, with Santa. INCT 45-740-CON

The countdown to Christmas in Mid and East Antrim is well underway as towns and villages prepare to light up for the festive season.

A new campaign, led by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, encourages citizens and visitors from across Northern Ireland to ‘Find Your Christmas’ in the area.

Featuring magical snow globes, the campaign showcases landmarks in Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus, and invites people to explore and enjoy the vast array of superb shops, restaurants, surroundings, hospitality and much more in the area this Christmas.

Details of free Christmas switch-on events, traditionally the highlights of the calendar year locally, have also been revealed and include reindeer and lantern parades, the arrival of Santa, food and crafts, live music and even fireworks.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “We have hugely exciting plans for this Christmas throughout Mid and East Antrim, with festive fun for all the family.

“We have been working hard on a packed programme of events and attractions to cater for all ages and look forward to showcasing the many fantastic offerings across Carrickfergus, Larne, Ballymena and our surrounding villages.

“The borough will be looking fabulously festive for residents and visitors from across Northern Ireland, in time for our big switch-on events.

“I commend our local businesses for all their hard work and efforts in the run-up to Christmas. I would ask our citizens and visitors to support them by shopping local for those special gifts when out and about in the coming weeks. I encourage the public to ‘Find Your Christmas’ right here in Mid and East Antrim.

“Our borough’s retailers are the very best around and visitors are guaranteed a warm welcome and great service, against a backdrop of spectacular scenery and built heritage, as they pick up those in-store surprises and seasonal treats on their Christmas wish lists."

Christmas switch-on events are planned throughout Mid and East Antrim over the coming weeks, with the main events taking place as follows:

- Ballymena, Thursday November 16, from 4pm until 7pm. The event will feature a reindeer and lantern parade, late-night shopping, food and crafts, and live music. The big switch on takes place at Broadway.

- Larne, Friday November 17, from 6pm until 8pm. Highlights include a magical lantern parade, Santa carriage and floats, live music and carol singers. The big switch on takes place at Broadway.

- Carrickfergus, Saturday November 18, from 1pm until 6pm, featuring a full day of family fun, live music and dance acts, and a fabulous firework finale. The big switch on takes place in the town centre, close to the Town Hall.

- Whitehead Victorian Street Fair, Saturday November 25, from noon until 8pm. There will be a street fair, walking tours, magic shows, food stalls, choirs, pipe bands, steam trains, fireworks and more.

Citizens are encouraged to use the hashtag #findyourchristmas when sharing pictures or videos on social media, or to find out the latest news about the series of events taking place throughout Mid and East Antrim.