GAZETTE country is now shining bright in time for Christmas.
Broughty Ferry was the first town to hit the switch with Dundee Provost Bob Duncan doing the honours and Monifieth and Carnoustie swiftly following.
In the Ferry the Broughty Ferry Christmas Lights Concert, organised by the Broughty Ferry Traders’ Association, sponsored by Gillies and in partnership with the Radio Tay Roadshow, attracted a huge crowd last Thursday.
With hot food stalls set out by local businesses, a host of carnival attractions, street performers and live music courtesy of the Radio Tay Roadshow, the damp weather earlier in the day failed to quash the enthusiasm.
Sandro Paladini, of Eduardo Alessandro Studios, spokesman for the Broughty Ferry Traders’ Association was pleased with the outcome. He said: “It’s not a gated event and so assessing crowd size is always difficult to be exact about.
“But we have had estimates of between three and four thousand people at the event and certainly, looking at the depth of the crowd stretching the full length of Brooke Street and most of the way up Gray Street as well, it seems that despite the unpromising weather in the afternoon we got a really, really splendid turnout and everybody was very happy.”
In addition the Broughty Ferry Traders’ Association handed over a cheque for £1,000 to be divided among the RNLI, Broughty Ferry Scouts, Barnhill Primary School and St Stephen’s Church.
The money comes from various fund-raisers organised by the traders during the year. Sandro explained: “The purpose of this donation is for the traders to support the local community and especially the worthy local groups who themselves make a very meaningful contribution to Broughty Ferry.”
Monifieth followed on Thursday, with their traditional lights switch on, with music from a volunteer wind ensemble from Monifieth High School, community carol singing and entertainment from the Monifieth Amateur Dramatic’s ‘Wizard of Oz’, with ‘Dorothy’ hitting the button.
Alastair Robertson from the Monifieth Community Council said: “The theme of the evening was ‘The Village Christmas’, as a lot of people still refer to Monifieth High Street as the village.
“A lot of the shops stayed open until eight or nine and the High Street was buzzing, it was really quite busy.
“We reckon there was more than last year, around 500 to 600 people. It was cold but dry, a lovely crisp evening.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the response and the various groups that took part and supported it. We got a good response from them and from Monifieth, it was great to see so many people out.”
In Carnoustie, junior citizen of the year Robert Ritchie threw the switch on Friday, with an enlarged event encompassing stalls, music from Con Fuoco, Carnoustie and District Pipe Band, Scott the jannie and a short blessing from Rev. Matthew Bickett.
Chair of the Carnoustie Community Council Christmas lights sub-committee, Kirsty McDonald, was glad to receive some very positive responses.
She said: “We’ve had no adverse comments at all. We tried a few different things this year. We invited the Carnoustie Development Group and they ran a few stalls which appeared to be popular.
“Clint Beattie built a gazebo over the door of the community church and we must thank The Bridge for the use of their premises. All the children filed through and met Santa which worked very well. Before it was a bit of melee, but this year it worked well.”
The sub-committee made up 300 party bags containing apples and oranges kindly donated by The Co-op along with crisps and sweets donated by other local businesses, and all were quickly snapped up.
The crowd is believed to have run to around 500 people.
A gap in the Christmas lights adjacent to the Spar has already been dealt with in time for next year. Kirsty explained: “There is a bit of a black hole between the Spar and a couple of lamp posts up the street were the cross street feature that was blown down by the wind last year and took a bit of the building with it.
“But we have looked at cross street features for next year, and we got a fantastic donation of £2,000 from For Carnoustie which will go a huge way towards that.
“Unfortunately the donation came too late, just a couple of months after the lights had to be ordered.
“But we’re well prepared for next year and we’ve chosen some special cross street features which will fill up that black hole.”