As some of you know, I’ve been involved with Blantyre Community Committee this year, and along with four other people have helped organise the town’s Christmas Event. The Festive Lights Switch on and Market took place yesterday Sunday 30th November 2014 and was such an amazing success with the largest Christmas market ever seen in Blantyre. Stall vendors were coming up even at the last minute asking if they could take part. All in all 73 amazing stalls took part on the day!
From 8am, the Committee members and several volunteer assistants were busy setting everything up. The weather stayed fine and dry with no rain at all during the time, something the fairground I’m sure was thankful of. A lot of planning and preparation went into the event, indeed we were meeting as far back as Summer to begin the organisation. Arlene Green, Rose Lee, Hazel Kravczyk, Stephen McDade and myself shared the effort dividing roles and responsibilities into more manageable tasks. For example, much effort went in behind the scenes for things that people may not immediately see. This included, safety, red cross first aid, insurances, liasing with the council waste, parks, roads and lighting departments.
Everything was very smooth and the day went fantastically! Great music accompanied the many live acts on stage, including a panto performance from Bright Lights Theatre Group. Universal Connections supplied a bus which was kitted out with games consoles for children. The market was very well received with crowds of over 2,000 people braving the cold weather and coming along for a memorable family day out. Santa was positively rushed when he arrived at 1.30pm and had to be escorted from the crowds of children all intent on ringing the bell he had! Around 190 children visited Santa in his grotto, each receiving a small gift.
A community cafe was set up in the sports hall, the food being donated kindly by event sponsor, Scotmid. This is sincerely appreciated by all the committee and proved a popular retreat from the cold weather. Disney characters Snow White, Cinderella and characters from Frozen were well received and offered photo opportunities for children, as did the Covey bear inside the hall.
The highlight though was little Ellie and Mya Clay, who got to stand up on stage and as all of Blantyre counted down from 10, they got to switch on the town’s tree and street lights, which did look incredible. The girls were super thrilled to take part and were presented with a little gift each beautifully crafted by Romany Stars Jewelery. With the lights on, the Committee took time to remain behind and clear the park entirely of all rubbish, a task made easier this year with the kind help of the Council’s waste Dept who had put on additional bins. The Committee use the day also to fundraise for next year, and between the funds raised at the tombola stall, sales of the cafe and glowsticks, raised enough to guarantee the event will go ahead next year. A tremendous success and truly a Blantyre day to be remembered by all!
All the photos can be viewed on this website and also here on Facebook.