Organisers of this year’s Kirkcaldy Christmas light switch on are sharing in the disappointment of members of the community following technical difficulties at Saturday’s festive event.
However they are busy working behind the scenes to ensure that the Lang Toun’s High Street is lit up and given some festive cheer by this weekend.
Thousands of people gathered in the High Street on Saturday afternoon to take part in a family lantern parade ahead of the town’s Christmas light switch on.
There was a lot of festive cheer as Drumatik led the parade through the streets and back to the stage at the top of Tolbooth Street for the switch on.
Unfortunately at the crucial moment, as eight-year-old Maddie Johnston pressed the plunger the lights failed to illuminate due to a technical hitch.
Billy Mack, the dame in the Adam Smith Theatre’s pantomime, tried to keep things going, but after multiple countdowns the lights were still not working.
When they did eventually come on, members of the public have expressed their disappointment with the number of lights on the High Street and the lack of a wow factor, particularly when compared to those in other Fife towns such as Dunfermline and Leven.
This year, rather than traditional lights being installed in the pedestrian zone, projection lights were planned as something different to brighten up the town centre.
However following the power surge on Saturday when the lights were to be switched on, these projection lights are now to be moved outwith the pedestrianised area to the east and west ends of the street and more traditional lighting is to be used in the central area.
A statement issued by the organisers this week explained that the lights did not come on as planned due to a power surge.
The statement said: “Kirkcaldy4All would like to thank all the public and schools who took part in the Christmas Lantern Parade in the Town Centre on Saturday.
“It was great to see the High Street flooded with children and lanterns, being led by the fantastic drumming band – ‘Drumatik’, providing a superb atmosphere along the parade route.
“Unfortunately, due to a power surge, our lights did not come on as planned and this is in the process of being rectified and will be resolved over the next few days.
“We understand and deeply share the disappointment many families will feel by this technical issue; however we sincerely hope and trust that the lead up to the event was enjoyed by those who attended.
“The lantern making workshops went well and we have received excellent feedback that the children who participated in these for free over the four Saturdays prior to the event really enjoyed them.
“The parade itself brought thousands to the Town Centre, creating a fantastic buzz and the ‘Ice Age’ characters Sid and Scrat were loved by the children and their families.
“The Salvation Army provided beautiful Christmas carol music accompanied by the Arts Hub ‘scratch choir’, and Mr and Mrs Santa from the grotto also came to greet the children.
“Lastly, Kirkcaldy4All is an independent company and part of its remit is to help Town Centre businesses and to create increased footfall in the town.
“We are a small team with limited budgets but work hard at delivering events for the public and retailers.
“While this event did not deliver on its ultimate promise, we will continue to work hard to provide family focussed events in and around the Town Centre.”
Speaking to the Press on Tuesday, Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee and a board member of Kirkcaldy4All, said: “The failure of the lights has been the talk of the town and its clearly been a major let down which I personally find unacceptable.
“I spoke to Kirkcaldy4All management on Monday and by that time, a plan was in place and being executed to make sure the situation was recovered.
“I was assured that changes were being made to ensure the projections moved to the east and west end of High Street and more traditional Christmas lighting would be in the pedestrianised zone.
“Kirkcaldy4All Board agreed unanimously to try the projections which have been used effectively on Blackpool Tower and other town centres and were promised the “Wow” factor would make a massive positive impact.
“The fact that did not materialise after eight countdowns was embarrassing for all concerned.
“However, it’s not what went wrong but how it’s corrected that is most important at this stage and let’s hope the rescue plan fills us with the joys of the season this weekend.”