top of page
  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Ballymena gets ready to sparkle as Santa sleighs into town

Lanterns in Santa Parade in Ballymena

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 wonderfullocal high-street businesses. Local retailers are the heart of our town centres and village high streets and have everything you need this Christmas.”


Crowds filled the streets in Larne this evening, Friday 17th November, as Santa arrived at his first stop in the borough.


Celebrations and festivities continue tomorrow in Ballymena, Saturday 18th, when crowds are expected from near and far for what is always a highlight of the year for young and old alike.

Come along and enjoy seeing the spectacular Ballymena Christmas Lights switched on for 2023!

From 2:00pm onwards keep an eye-out for some Christmassy walkabout characters throughout Ballymena town centre. The festive entertainment kicks off in full at 4:00pm with 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.

NOTE: A full road closure will be in place in Ballymena town centre from 5:00pm onwards. All Ulsterbus Town Services will operate from The State & Georges Street from 4:55pm onwards.

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.



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).



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 log on to


bottom of page