Santa Claus Arrives in Ballymena to Hundreds of Cheers

Santa Claus arrived in Ballymena on Saturday night as the crowds roared and children cheered.

Late in the afternoon, rain blazed down in Ballymena’s town centre, as atmosphere built inside the Tower Centre shopping centre. The stench of coffee corroded the air, as parents tried to keep their spirits awake, trying to keep up with their overly enthusiastic children. The rain may have dampened the streets, but it did not dampen spirits, as the crowds moved out to watch the parade. 

The loud pitter patter of torrential rain was covered up by the sounds of Raise the Roof charity choir, singing a collection of Christmas hits, such as Wizard’s I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day and Slade’s Merry Christmas Everyone

Anticipation was building and building. Shops closed their doors for the evening as most of the town came to see the festivities. The sounds of bagpipe players trying to keep their instruments warm in the piercing cold could be heard through the whistling wind.

As the parade began to form rank, parents scrambled to the front of the crowds, desperate to see their child walk past. 

First came a set of bagpipes playing Lauder’s Scotland the Brave. The crowd clapped to the beat, despite many clearly not knowing the name of the song. The loud roar of the band and the deafening blows of the drums bounced and echoed off all the shop windows.

The nerves of the children could be felt throughout the crowds. ‘Santa! Santa! Santa!’ the children collectively screamed, each scream still audible several streets away in the distance.

The parade went on under the sparkling lights. The children lined up, waiting for their big moment. Immediately, every parent’s eyes were turned to try and find their child in the swarm of children. Men dressed as snowmen, Christmas trees and reindeers escorted the children. The centrepiece of the parade was an elf aboard a red and green mushroom on wheels, drawing every parent’s eye away from their child.

It was time for the main event. Santa Claus came through on his motorised sleigh, led by roaring children, dressed as angels and stars, who tried to eyeball their parents and cameras in the streets. 

Santa’s sleigh was as bright as Rudolph’s nose. His sleigh was well above the ground, where he could see all the girls and boys he would visit a month later, as they waved and worshipped him.