TWO of Ballymena’s best loved characters are making a welcome return to the town for this year’s festive season.
Bertie, the Ballymena Bear, first delighted audiences when he arrived in the town in 2015 before he was joined by Bella the following year.
Their beautiful love story tugged on the heart strings of audiences near and far, with the Christmas video, commissioned by Ballymena Business Improvement District (BID), going viral and being compared to the iconic John Lewis Christmas adverts.
This year, Bertie and Bella are back and they are reflecting on their love of Ballymena, which has been home for the last three years. The video also features the stars of last year’s hit advert, The Martian and The Pigeon.
Speaking about the return of Bertie and Bella, Alison Moore, Ballymena BID Manager, said: “We’re delighted that Bertie and Bella have returned to Ballymena for this year’s festive season.
“They are the unrivalled stars of Ballymena at Christmas and their blossoming love story wins the hearts of viewers, year on year.
“Bertie and Bella have become icons in their own right in Ballymena and we hope that this year’s advert highlights the appeal of Ballymena to those throughout Northern Ireland and beyond.
“Ballymena is historically known as one of the premier shopping destinations in Northern Ireland with a range of independent retailers, two fantastic shopping centres, delicious eateries and lively bars.”
Alison continued: “We often say if it can’t be found in Ballymena then it cannot be found in Northern Ireland but the truth is, our retailers really do have so much to offer and continually go all out to welcome visitors to the town.
“We invite you to come along and experience the magic of Ballymena this festive season, after all, Ballymena Means Christmas!”
It’s not just the shopping that makes Ballymena so appealing. Each Saturday in December, Ballymena BID, in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, will be providing a range of entertainment from local bands, fun characters, a Winter Wonderland and an orchestra and choir.
The town will also be lit up with glittering Winter Lights, wholly funded by the BID, which have been lighting up the streets during Winter for the last two years.
A total of 125 lights are now installed on poles throughout the town centre, covering every street in the BID area.
So come join in the festive fun in Ballymena this Christmas where you’re sure to find what you’re looking for and you never know, you may just spot Bertie and Bella!
· The Ballymena BID television advert will be broadcast from 28th November (TBC)
· The video will be available on Ballymena BID’s website (www.ballymenameans.com) and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) thereafter.