Christmas in Kirkcaldy: Festivities begin with lantern parade and Mercat lights switch on
Locals in Kirkcaldy were treated to some festive sparkle at the weekend when the Mercat’s Christmas lights were officially switched on.
The activities began on Saturday around the Mercat shopping Centre which traditionally organises Santa’s arrival in town.
The seasonal glow arrived on Saturday afternoon when around 40-50 locals took part in a lantern parade that made its way from the Kings Theatre along the Esplanade to the Mercat, where the festive lights were switched on at 4.00pm.
As well as the lights display, the Mercat also features a 20ft Christmas tree and a Santa’s Grotto this year.
Santa arrived in the afternoon with Mrs Claus by campervan before they both headed to his grotto inside the shopping centre, where the couple entertained visiting families.
Alasdair Irving, centre manager, said the cast of this year’s panto ‘Ya Wee Sleeping Beauty’, which opens this week at the Kings Live Lounge, had been scheduled to do the official lights switch-on, but they ended being too busy with visitors who came along to see them at the venue.
But he said there was plenty to entertain locals as the activities got underway inside the Mercat: “Musical entertainment was provided by the Tullis Russell Band and Lang Toun Jazz,” he said.
“We also laid on free face-painters and a free balloon modeller – our monthly craft market was on too. There was a good turnout with the arrival of Santa being the busiest time.”
He added: “It was good to see the Mercat busy again.”
The activities on Saturday did not include the switch-on of the town centre’s main traditional festive lights.
This was due to a problem with the infrastructure for putting the lights up.
But, on Friday, councillor Neil Crooks, convener of the Kirkcaldy area committee, confirmed that a solution had been found and revealed that Ladybank-based lighting consultants Blachere Illuminations has come on board to light up the main shopping area, with plans to also use projectors to add even more of a festive backdrop.
It is hoped the lights will be switched on by December 8.
Cllr Crooks said: “I want to pay tribute in particular to Julie Dickson, our area community manager, and Ross Spiers from transportation services for bringing a particularly technical and challenging project to a positive conclusion. Work had been going on behind the scenes to assess the fixtures and lighting.
“I am delighted to announce that the hard work of Fife Council officers has finally paid dividends and the Christmas lights in Kirkcaldy town centre will shine brightly this year.”
Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance added: “Following the news that Kirkcaldy was facing a Christmas without any festive lights, I contacted the chief executive of Fife Council, Steve Grimmond, to bring this to his attention and request his intervention as a matter of urgency.
“The switching on of Kirkcaldy’s Lights has traditionally been one of the main events on the festive calendar, not just for children but for entire families.
"I would like to thank the council officers, and of course Blachere Illuminations, for all of their hard work to save Christmas for the residents of Kirkcaldy. I am certainly looking forward to seeing the final result.”