Dates and times for Mid and East Antrim's Christmas events released

Mid and East Antrim is hosting a season to celebrate with switch-on ceremonies and artisan markets this Christmas.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 1:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 1:22 pm

The borough is packed with festive events, local shops, cosy cafés, and places to enjoy winter’s wonderland.

Details for each area are as follows:

Larne – Friday 19 November 5pm (7.30pm switch on)

The borough is packed with festive events, local shops, cosy cafés, and places to enjoy winter’s wonderland.

Star of BBC’s The Blame Game, comedian Tim McGarry will host a full festive programme of entertainment starting at 5pm at Broadway.

Tim will be joined by DJ Mark Dobbin, brass bands, The Music Yard, Belfast Community Gospel Choir and lots of festive characters.

A special parade will leave Larne Market Yard around 7pm before heading to Broadway where the Eco Rangers will help the Mayor and Santa switch on the lights at 7.30pm.

The parade will feature a cavalcade of specially decorated Landrovers by NI Landrover Club.

It takes in Circular Road, Quay Street, stopping briefly at Broadway for the lights switch on, before returning along Main Street and High Street.

Carrickfergus - Saturday 20 November 2pm (5.30pm switch on)

A full day of festivities is forecast for Carrickfergus on Saturday 20 November from 2pm, including live music, dancing and face painting.

Plenty of entertainment on stage throughout the day including performances from Royal Tara Dance Academy, Uplift Performing Arts and much more. There will be festive walkabouts, face painting, Christmas carnival games, toast your own marshmallows and get your selfie in a giant bauble.

Santa’s very own reindeer will make an appearance from 3pm. St Nicholas' Church will host a Carol Service from 4pm (limited seating due to Covid restrictions). Santa will then arrive to switch on the Christmas tree lights at around 5.30pm.

Enjoy the magical finale where a fabulous fireworks display will take place around 5.45pm from Fisherman's Quay (weather dependent).

If you can’t make the main switch on event, then pop along to our Seasonal Sounds performances taking place in Carrickfergus throughout December. The Brass and Silver Band concerts will entertain shoppers in the Town Centre from 2-3pm on 4, 11 and 18 December.

Whitehead – Saturday 27 November 3pm - 5.30pm

Have Christmas at the coast with beautiful Christmas carols, street entertainers, Santa and his grotto experience, all topped off with a spectacular fireworks display along the promenade.

Ballymena – Thursday 18 November 5pm (6.45pm switch on)

Kick off the Christmas festivities in Ballymena from 5pm with walkabout characters and toe-tapping tunes from the live concert stage at Harmony Hub, featuring Mojo and Raise the Roof choir.

The Santa Parade starts from Wellington Street at 6.20pm and will feature a pipe band, Dunclug Primary School children with lanterns, Clydesdale horses, Samba band, and of course a visit from Santa and his reindeer.

The route will take in Wellington Street, Ballymoney Street, William Street, Broughshane Street, pass the Harmony Hub where a pupil from Castle Tower School will switch on the town’s lights at 6.45pm, continue along Church Street, Mill Street before Santa will then return to the Tower Centre to open his Grotto at 7pm with late night shopping until 9pm.

Artisan Markets

Shoppers can enjoy some seasonal sparkle throughout November and December by visiting one of the special artisan markets with live music throughout the borough.

Larne: Broadway

Friday 26 November, 4pm – 8pm

Saturday 27 November, 11am – 5pm

Carrickfergus: Market Place

Friday 3 December, 4pm – 8pm

Saturday 4 December, 11am – 5pm

Ballymena: Greenvale Street (in association with Ballymena BID)

Thursday 9th December – Sunday 12th December

Thursday 16th December – Sunday 19th December

(Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays 10am – 6pm, Sundays 1pm – 6pm)

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “It’s definitely a season to celebrate here across the borough as we get ready for Christmas and return to normality. Whilst it was still great to bring events to people online last year, you can’t beat the real thing, especially when Santa is involved.

“This year we have fantastic entertainment in all the town centres, from the lights switch on, to live music, parades and of course our delicious artisan markets so you can stock up on festive gifts. Late night shopping, cafes and restaurants are gearing up to welcome you back safely this season of cheer, so please try and celebrate local by supporting our wonderful local retailers. They are the heart of our town centres and village high streets, and have everything you need to make it a Christmas to remember.”

The new ShopMEA app features a selection of local retailers, and you can search for shops and events in Ballymena, Carrickfergus or Larne.

You can also view the offers at www.shopMEA.co.uk and follow us on social media for all the latest news, events and information, or visit: www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk

"Covid-19 testing is strongly recommended at least 24 hours before the event and on days 2 and 8 after the event. Do not attend if you have any Covid-19 symptoms. Please use the hand sanitisers on site and keep social distancing," the council said.