By Suzanne Pender
A REIMAGINED festive family experience awaits Co Carlow this year, promising much-needed joy over the coming weeks.
Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council cllr Tom O’Neill this week launched the programme for Co Carlow – A Festive Family Experience 2020 – with a little help from Santa and Wibbly Wobbly Wendy at a secret location!
“The programme has been reimagined this year” said cllr O’Neill while promising some “much-needed joy” across the county over the next few weeks with a series of official activities that are all about engaging communities in different ways.
“The festive season 2020 is going to be different for everybody and we in Carlow County Council are keen to play our part in supporting communities to come together virtually, while also providing a lighting programme and a limited variety of physical events,” he added.
The programme for 2020 includes the Carlow Town Virtual Light Ceremony. Mayor of Carlow cllr Fergal Browne and Santa will turn on the lights in Carlow live on Facebook on Saturday 21 November.
Santa’s Message to Primary Schools involves the man himself sending a message to primary schools across all of Co Carlow from 23 November and each school will be in with a chance to win €1,500 worth of electrical equipment in partnership with Swans Electrical.
Light Up Carlow is a photography competition that will be launched on Wednesday 25 November. It will encourage people across the world with Carlow connections to take a picture with their Christmas tree and be in with a chance of winning €1,500 worth of vouchers for local retailers of their choice.
A Carlow shopfront competition will take place to find Carlow’s most Christmassy shop window, with three prizes of €500 to be won.
Another very exciting event is the Light Up Carlow Drive In, which involves a fireworks display. Tickets go on sale for Carlow’s first drive-in fireworks display in the coming weeks. The event will be held in December.
There’ll also be weekly competitions, with valuable prizes up for grabs. Search for #Carlow Christmas on Facebook and find out how you can win and also get full updates on other local events and how you can #shopcarlow for 2020, with offers from the local retail community.
“I’d like to encourage everybody to shop local this Christmas or, if you do make the choice to shop online, try and be local online and support our local business community which, in turn, is supporting our community,” said cathaoirleach O’Neill.
“Secondly, the festive season is all about community and people supporting each other. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that we all play out part in supporting each other in what will be the conclusion to an extremely challenging year for all,” he added.
Speaking about the programme, Kathleen Holohan, chief executive of Carlow County Council, thanked the communities who work with the council each year on the Festive Family Experience Programme to make the occasion an experience that is all about community.
“Co Carlow is always a special place at Christmas time. There’s no doubt Christmas 2020 will be different to previous years, but I know that our communities will work together to make it magical and to support each other,” she said.