CHRISTMAS celebrations in Cupar could be revamped following criticism of this year’s town centre lighting display and switch-on event.
The lights have come under fire for being ‘pathetic’, ‘pitiful’ and ‘under-whelming’ according to comments posted on the Fife Herald’s facebook page.
Several people posted messages saying Cupar could do better, and compared the lighting display to that in other local towns including Newburgh and Glenrothes, which were said to be much more attractive.
Comments were also made about the organisation of the event, which included activities in the Corn Exchange.
Some readers said they felt it could have been better run and that the timing of the event — a Thursday evening — was not ideal for schoolchildren.
Others said funfair rides were too expensive and that the event was becoming ‘tacky’ and ‘too commercial’.
It has been suggested that more community involvement could improve the event and make it bigger and better than ever before.
Discussions have taken place in the town involving individuals, Cupar Rotary Club and Cupar and District Community Council who seem to be in agreement that the wider community should play a greater role.
Community council chair, Canon Pat McInally, said: “For the size of the town, the Christmas lights in Cupar are pretty poor, and one wonders if they are value for money.
“I have passed through both Newburgh and Arbroath this week and Cupar could learn something from them.
“The community council would be happy to support any initiative that helps to improve the situation, and I know that there are a number of groups looking at this for the future.”
One of the suggestions made is for the Christmas lights switch-onto move to a Saturday afternoon, or the creation of a larger winter festival-type event.
That could include events in the Haugh Park and around town, perhaps in conjunction with the organisers of Cupar’s successful arts festival.
Suggestions for improving the Christmas lights include reverting to the ‘buy a bulb’ campaign which used to run in Cupar, but was stopped due to health and safety regulations.
At present the switch-on event is organised by the Christmas Lights Committee comprising Councillor Margaret Kennedy with input from Fife Council officers, the community council and other parties.
The lights have been hired from Ladybank-based lighting experts Blachere Illumination UK for the past three years, and a one year extension was recently granted for 2012.
Responding to the criticism, Councillor Kennedy said: “We are very much victims of our success.
“What started quite small has become an extremely popular and well patronised event.”
Councillor Kennedy said she welcomed requests to hold a meeting early next year to discuss taking the event forward and involving more members of the local community.
“It would be good to hear from people who want to get involved and help with fund-raising etc,” she said.
“It is my hope that those who criticise may help instead of looking for the negative around what other members of the community have done for the town’s benefit.
“I am extremely proud to be associated with those who help to put the event together and look forward to the future.”
n A picture caption in last week’s coverage of the Cupar lights switch-on ceremony in the Fife Herald wrongly gave the surname of twins Freya and Isla Donnelly as ‘Clunie’. Our apologies for the error.