Belfast Telegraph

Fireworks to bring Santa in with a bang

Christmas in Donaghadee is set to go with a bang when a fireworks display will herald the arrival of Santa to the town on Friday, December 6. This will be part of a full weekend of events designed to appeal to visitors and townsfolk alike.

Starting at 4pm on Friday, there will be stalls in Shield's courtyard selling a wide range of local and regional fine food, Christmas gifts, decorations, cards, cakes, jewellery and other items. Children will be given the opportunity to make a lantern before forming up to parade to the harbour to await Santa's arrival at 7pm.

The fireworks display will be used to guide Santa into the harbour where the Mayor of Ards, Councillor Stephen McIlveen, will welcome him to the town. The children will then escort Santa to his grotto where he will give out presents.

Various Christmas characters, will also be taking part in what is destined to be a colourful and lively parade. Shops will be staying open for late night shopping and First Presbyterian Church will be holding its annual Christmas Fayre in the church halls. Donaghadee Community Choir who will be singing in the church forecourt will enhance the festive atmosphere.

Children will be fully entertained on Saturday with a wide range of fun activities again in Shields car park. There will be a funfair, a Punch and Judy show and balloon making. The highly popular Dundonald Concert Band will be playing Christmas music in the forecourt of First Presbyterian Church.

On Sunday afternoon there will be craft stalls in the Community Centre and a 5k Santa Fun Run. Each entrant in the Fun Run will be supplied with a Santa outfit to wear on the run and all participants are encouraged to raise funds for their club, charity or good cause. Anyone wishing to take part should complete an entry form available from www.visitdonaghadee.com or pick one up at Pier 36. The weekend's events conclude with the ever-popular Community Carol Service in First Presbyterian Church followed by the switching on of the Christmas Lights by the Mayor of Ards,

David Cochrane, Chairman of the Donaghadee Commerce and Development Group, said: "The Santa arrival and parade remains the main event in our programme but we have sought to develop a variety of activities in the expectation that we will encourage people to come out and support the event. We are hoping to build on the huge crowds who have turned out to support us in previous years" Continuing, he expressed his thanks to all who were assisting in the organisation of the event.

He said: "This is an event driven by the local community – local traders, the RNLI, Rotary Club, the Community Partnership, the local police, churches and community organisations have all pitched in to help and without their support and, of course the financial support of Ards Borough Council, this event simply would not happen. We are grateful to everyone for their assistance."

Billy Hamilton, President of the Donaghadee Rotary Club, said: "Donaghadee Rotary Club has been involved in the Santa Parade and Grotto for several years and we now look on this as part and parcel of our annual programme. It is a real opportunity for the Club to demonstrate its commitment to the local community."

The Mayor of Ards, Councillor Stephen McIlveen said: "Donaghadee has once again pulled out all the stops to create a weekend of events with real appeal to local people and to visitors. The events are good for the town and good for building that all important sense of community. I'm looking forward to being part of the celebrations and am very pleased that Ards Borough Council has once again been able to support the programme."

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