New ideas to improve Christmas switch-on

Cupar councillor Margaret kennedy
Cupar councillor Margaret kennedy

Spring may just have sprung but plans to turn Cupar into a winter wonderland this Christmas are already gathering pace.

Last year’s Christmas lights switch-on event faced criticism for being “too commercialised” and “too expensive”, while lighting displays were said to be disappointing in comparison to other towns.

Events in the Corn Exchange were also deemed by some to have been “too congested”.

However, since then a group representing a cross-section of the community has been meeting to discuss how the event could be improved in the future.

Councillor Margaret Kennedy who has been chairing the group, said the issue of the Christmas lights has already been tackled with the owners of the lights, Blachere, working with the council to see how displays can be updated.

She said: “We have one more year of our contract with Blachere so we are looking at how some of the lighting could be displayed better.”

One of the most popular ideas from the group has been to change the event from a Thursday night to a Saturday afternoon which would mean events would not be so compacted.

“This idea seems to be favoured by most people and it would enable us to have a whole afternoon of activities for all the family to enjoy culminating with the light switch-on once it got dark,” said Councillor Kennedy.

CELEBRITY

“Although all of these ideas are at a very early stage we have also talked about hiring an ice rink, which would be great for children and adults alike, as well as making better use of all the public spaces we have in the town.

“We have thought about having a craft market in Ferguson Square with marquees in the event of bad weather, and perhaps locating the ice rink in the car park of the Castlehill complex to give people space.

“Of course, we are still in talks with the schools and other interested parties to see if they would favour a Saturday afternoon and we also have to consider things like the extra cost of manpower on a weekend.”

Councillor Kennedy added: “We have talked about getting a ‘celebrity’ guest to switch the lights on but there are mixed feelings about this as this is usually done by the Citizen/s of the Year, but its something we will look at.”

One of the biggest hurdles the ‘winter wonderland ‘ plans may face is that Cupar town centre will be subject to a 20-week period of roadworks from August as construction of the new road layout gets underway.

Fife Council should, however, be taking a break over the Christmas season to give local shopkeepers some respite.