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Saturday, 19th November 2022

Huge crowd flocks to West Street as Santa gets Christmas in Drogheda underway

Front Page
By Andy Spearman

Drogheda was packed to the gills yesterday evening as families crowded into West Street to witness one of the most important events of the year – the arrival of Santa and the switching on of the Christmas lights. 

Excited children were there well ahead of the appointed time of 6.00 pm because they wanted to get up close to Santa and his many exciting guests. 

By 6.15 the children and their Mammies and Daddies had, despite the bitter cold, become the largest crowd to have gathered in West Street since the Fleadh. 

They just kept on coming until the street in front of St. Peter’s Church, known to some these days as St. Peter’s Plaza, was chock-a-block and the crowd stretched back to the Tholsel. Duke Street was also packed as was the section of West Street heading West. 

Gerry Kelly of LMFM was an inspired choice as MC for the proceedings. He is that rare specimen of man who, though allegedly fully grown up, has managed to retain the capacity for excitement of a child.

Within minutes Gerry had the rest of the children present as excited as he was.

The wide-eyed innocence of the younger children was a pleasure to witness as they waited patiently with parents and grandparents for Santa.

Gerry (pictured below) had them singing along and cheering to the rafters in no time but when a certain young girl called Elsa came on stage with some Christmassy friends, the crowd erupted into song.

Santa's chief little helper, Gerry Kelly was in flying form yesterday at the switching on of the Christmas lights.

Suddenly the huge crowd was of one voice singing “Let it Go, Let it Go!” from the Disney movie Frozen. Even I know it thanks to my granddaughter Juno who insists I watch it whenever my wife and I visit.

Elsa was an impossible act to follow. Mayor Michelle Hall did her best, but at this stage the only person they were interested in was the man himself, Santa. She congratulated everyone involved and encouraged everyone to "Shop Local" this Christmas to preserve local jobs.

Suddenly Gerry was pointing up into the sky. “Look” he said to the Mayor, “I think I can see him. Look, over there, it’s…it’s Santa!

Seconds later, as if by magic, Santa emerged from behind a curtain at the back of the stage and the whole street erupted into cheers.

Santa arrives to huge applause from the crowd.

There were a few tears also from young children who, we must remember, have been cooped up at home for most of their young lives thanks to covid and are not accustomed to large crowds.

Santa may have been around for a very long time but he is as fresh as ever he was and between himself and Gerry and the Mayor and several little helpers they soon got down to the serious business of the night and pressed a plunger to switch the Christmas lights on which brought the loudest and most sustained cheer of the evening.

Congratulations must go to the organisers of the evening the Drogheda Loves Business Improvement group and of course the various musicians, the Greenhillls School choir, Voices of the Boyne Choir and the dancers from the Coastal Ballet School.

The mood of the crowd as they made their way home along West Street was one of joy and happiness which was a refreshing change.

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