Christmas light switch ons kick start the festive season across MEA!

Monday 13 November 2023

Mid and East Antrim is set to sparkle bright this November and December as Council prepares to usher in the festive season with the annual Christmas light switch ons!

Taking place in Ballymena, Larne, Carrickfergus and Whitehead – the events will be full of magical Christmas cheer, fun-filled family entertainment plus a very special visit from the main man himself – Santa!

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said: “We are delighted to announce the switching on of our Christmas lights across Mid and East Antrim - a much-loved key date in the calendars of many of our residents. I am really looking forward to this year’s events which are free to attend and will feature fantastic street entertainment, pop-up performances and homegrown musical talent.

“I also hope you will continue to support our wonderful local high-street businesses. Local retailers are the heart of our town centres and village high streets and have everything you need this Christmas.”

Larne Christmas Lights Switch On: Friday 17 November

Broadway, Larne - 5pm - 8pm (switch on 7.30pm)

Kick off the Christmas festivities in Larne on Friday 17 November!

There will be a full programme of entertainment taking place at Broadway from 5pm with Sound Goods Music and featuring live music from The VIPs, kids entertainment, live reindeer and festive walkabouts.

Santa will lead a special parade that will leave Larne Market Yard around 7pm before heading to Broadway to switch on the lights at 7.30pm. The parade will feature Cullybackey Pipe Band, floats, Clydesdale horses and dray, Christmas characters, local school children and of course Santa!

There is a NEW parade route for 2023 which takes in Station Road, Bridge Street, Main Street, turning at the mini roundabout and making its way back to Broadway where Santa and the Mayor will turn on the Christmas lights on.

Please note Main Street is closed to traffic from 4pm and other roads from 7pm. Signed diversions will be in place.

Ballymena Christmas Lights Switch On: Saturday 18 November

Harmony Hub, Ballymena – 4pm-7pm (switch on 6.30pm)

Come along on Saturday 18 November to see the spectacular Ballymena Christmas Lights switched on for 2023!

The festive entertainment programme begins at 4pm with Christmassy walkabout characters, face painting, balloon modelling, live reindeer plus toe-tapping tunes from the live concert stage at Broadway - featuring live music from Ballymena Ukelele Group, DJ Mark Ritchie and The Gatecrashers band. Thanks to Ballymena BID you’ll also meet Lisa McHugh and Kirstie McMurray as they broadcast live on Downtown Radio!

The Santa Parade starts from Wellington Street at 6pm and will feature Cullybackey Pipe Band, floats, local school children with lanterns, Santa’s Clydesdale horses and dray and plenty of festive characters to entertain the crowds!

The route will take in Wellington Street, Ballymoney Street, William Street, Broughshane Street, (pause at Harmony Hub to switch on the lights at 6.30pm with Santa and the Mayor), Church Street, Bryan Street and then back to the Tower Centre.

Carrickfergus Christmas Lights Switch On: Saturday 25 November

High Street, Carrickfergus – 2pm – 6pm (switch on 5.30pm)

Come along for an afternoon of festive family fun on Saturday 25 November from 2pm, with music, dance and Christmas characters to get you in the spirit before the lights switch on at High Street.

There will be plenty of entertainment on stage throughout the day including performances from Uplift Performing Arts, Singing Hands Choir from the Hawthorns Adult Centre, Royal Tara Dance Academy, Studio 86, live music from The Flame N’Ukes and The Stepbrothers plus much more.

From festive characters, face painting, Christmas carnival games, live reindeer and mini carousels, soft play trailer, there is lots of fun for the family. This year will also see an exciting new addition to the event - a special Christmas Artisan market will take place in High Street Car Park from 1pm - 5.30pm.

The traditional Civic carol service will take place in the historic St Nicholas’ Church from 4pm.

Help the Mayor and Santa countdown to the official lights switch on at 5.30pm and enjoy the magical finale where a fabulous fireworks display will take place at approx. 5.45pm from Fisherman's Quay. (Weather dependent).

Whitehead Christmas Lights Switch On: Saturday 2 December

Whitehead: 12noon – 6.15pm (switch on 5.30pm)

The popular Victorian Street Fair returns for 2023!

From street entertainers and arts and crafts to Christmas stalls and street vendors – it’s the perfect backdrop to the Christmas lights switch-on.

There will be a live music stage with a jam packed schedule of local acts, meet Santa in his grotto plus steam train rides, hog roasts, fairground rides and kids entertainment. There will also be a selection of talks and storytelling. (Victorian Street Fair organised by Whitehead Community Association)

The Civic Carol service will take place in Whitehead Presbyterian Church from 4pm, followed by the official Christmas Lights switch on at 5.30pm. The fabulous fireworks display will take place at 6pm - along the promenade - to close the festivities (weather dependent).

For further information visit on to our Christmas events listing.