Alesha and Amy Rooney with Santa Claus at last year’s Christmas celebration in Ballymahon. This year, the town will be lit up on Friday, December 4, at 4pm Picture: Syl Healy
With Covid restrictions being eased somewhat just in time for the festive season, Ballymahon is gearing up for what will be a very welcome Christmas celebration in the midst of what has been a long and difficult year for everyone.
This year’s celebrations will, of course, be governed by Covid regulations and social distancing restrictions, but the committee for this year’s festivities have worked hard to ensure that Christmas will not be forgotten as they prepare to switch on the lights this Friday afternoon at 4pm.
“The lights are all in place, and we’re working on the last few details,” Cllr Pat O’Toole told the Longford Leader.
“There will be a tree at the library and at the church and we will be social distancing.”
The switching on of the lights will take place outside the library and, while there is no big event planned, the lights will bring some much needed Christmas spirit to the town.
And, while Santa will be busy preparing for a Covid Christmas, he hasn’t forgotten about the children of Ballymahon and surrounding areas and will be delivering presents in advance to the Bridgeways Family Resource Centre where children will be able to collect them.
On Saturday, December 19, and Sunday, December 20, children will be able to call into the Centre to collect their gifts, specially left by Santa. However, due to Covid-19 regulations, visits will have to be booked in advance via the Bridgeways Family Resource Centre Facebook page . Visits will cost €3 per child.
“Unfortunately, Santa himself won’t be there because he’ll be busy,” said Grace Kearney of Bridgeways FRC, “but we will have allocated time slots for children to arrive and collect their presents between 12pm and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, December 19 and 20.
“There’ll be a magic wonderland theme and it will be a one way system, so children will come in one door and exit another.
“Masks will be worn and all HSE guidelines will be complied with.”
There will also be a Christmas surprise in the town running for five days from Friday, December 18, according to Ms Kearney.
This magical Christmas project has been organised by the Bridgeways Family Resource Centre and will take place at Peter Dennehy’s Showroom on Main Street, Ballymahon, located beside the Community Library.
And that weekend will be a busy one as the annual Abbeyshrule Christmas Lights Tractor Run will come through the town on December 19, starting from Abbeyshrule Airfield. The route will be published in the coming weeks.