By Dan Walsh
The organisers of Gorey Christmas Lights Big Switch On triumphed against the forces of nature to bring thousands onto the Main Street tonight (Saturday) to the happiest event ever – the lights turned on by Santa Claus with Mrs. Claus by his side.
The weather was dreadful on Saturday morning and caused the organisers to call an emergency meeting at mid-day to engage and see if the Big Switch On could go ahead or be postponed to another day.
District Manager Philip Knight told WexfordLocal.com that there were no ‘weather warning’ and while the prospects for a dry evening were not too good, it was decided to push on as planned. “The attendance was down a bit on other occasions but held up well in the circumstances.”
The numbers grew significantly as the rain persisted with less than an hour to go. Families and little children, many wearing Christmas attire, huddled in shop doorways in anticipation of the parade from the bottom of the town along Main St.
When the parade moved forward to the stage the rain went away and everyone was able to get the best vantage point of the main stage and following a loud countdown, Santa pressed the plunger and the surroundings were instantly illuminated to a rousing cheer. End of a two-year absence!
Popular Dave Redmond (South East Radio) was master of ceremonies and he kept the multitudes entertained while everyone waited for the big moment! He was assisted by brilliant music from Gorey Pipe Band, Saoirse from St. Aidan’s Centre and the Gorey Youth Group.
The attendance included Senator Malcolm Byrne, Cllrs Donal Kenny (Cathaoirleach), Joe Sullivan, Andrew Bolger and Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin, Philip Knight, District Manager, Liz Hore, Director of Services, Liz Stanley, Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council and the Christmas Lights Committee and the Chairman of the Christmas Lights Committee, Michael Gleeson.
The annual Christmas Window Competition is open with several prizes available owing to the amazing increase in creativity and commitment by the retailers and businesses. Judging will take place on Monday, December 12th and the winner will be announced that evening.