COVID restrictions on large-scale public gatherings means, as it currently stands, there will no repeat of last year’s hugely successful fireworks display which attracted thousands of people to Ballymena’s People’s Park.
It remains to be seen just how Mid & East Antrim Borough Council will mark Halloween this year.
It is understood the Council is holding off for as long as they can before the reveal their plans to mark the October 31 period this year.
However, it is understood that the Council officials believe that even if they were to host a large-scale fireworks display without the public in immediate attendance it would inevitably mean people would gather nearby.
Earlier this year the Council was able to get crowds to socially-distance by holding drive-in concerts at the Ballymena Showgrounds with those in attendance restricted to vehicles.
Last year’s big Halloween event at the People’s Park in Ballymena – dubbed ‘Hallowena’ – won the Council much praise.
However, disappointingly, for fireworks fans, a Council report says that at the moment there are no plans for a major public fireworks display in Ballymena.
Mid and East Antrim Halloween events face cancellation unless restrictions ease, the report prepared for councillors says.
The Council report, tabled at a meeting in Ballymena on Monday night, says: ‘For the Ballymena event at People’s Park we had explored the potential of three ticketed sessions of up to 500 people per session (if permitted by the Executive guidance a this time) with an offering of animation, storytellers, music and acrobats. There are no plans for a fireworks display.’
The report adds that ‘unless the threshold for crowd numbers is increased by the Executive, the event will not take place and given the tight timeframe, the decision to cancel plans or progress will be made by the end of September’.
The recommendation to councillors was ‘to continue to explore the feasibility of delivering events in October provided they adhere to Executive legislation and public health guidance.
‘Where such events can be delivered safely, Council will proceed to deliver these events. Where it is felt by the Chief Executive that previously planned events cannot be delivered in line with the guidance, Council will commit to delivering, where possible, events in an alternative format’.