This November and December in Mid Ulster are full of festive fun to help you spend time together with friends and family this Christmas. From the lights switch on, which are making a welcome return to our town centres this year, to entertainment, craft workshops and festive concerts, there’s lots to brighten up the darkest of days!
Cookstown Town Centre is the first to light up this year, on Friday 25 November, from 6.30pm – 8pm. William Street will come alive with entertainment from Stewartstown Panto, Tullylagan Pipe Band and Band of Gold, finishing with a fantastic Showstoppers Parade to count down to the Lights Switch On by Santa, who’ll arrive in style. On Street Entertainment includes face painting, The Gaming Bus, Art Cart and Character Walkabouts for those Christmas selfies! The Christmas Lights Switch On will take place at approximately 7.25pm. Road diversions will be in place on William Street from 5pm to 9.15pm.
Market Square, Magherafelt also lights up the weekend of Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November with festivities featuring for the first time, the Lough Neagh Artisans Market, and finishing with a Christmas Lights Switch-On and Fireworks Display.
Browse a selection of artisan food and craft producers at Lough Neagh Artisans Market on Saturday 26 from 11am to 10pm, and Sunday 27 from 1.30pm to 6pm and enjoy street food on Saturday from 6pm to 10pm that will sustain you through the street party, lights switch on, fireworks and beyond! Be at Meeting Street/Market Street from 6.15pm to greet Santa as he arrives, and get into the Christmas spirit on Broad Street as the Street Party gets into full swing from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
Meanwhile, crowds will be entertained by local schools and groups appearing on stage at the Civic Space on Meeting Street/Market Street. There’s face painting in the Bank of Ireland and a Christmas Panto to entertain the little ones in The Bridewell. The Magherafelt Christmas Lights Switch On and Firework Display will take place from 7.30pm. Road closures will be in effect on Market Street from Friday 25 at 6pm to Sunday 27 at 10pm, and Broad Street on Saturday 26 from 4pm to 9.30pm.
Market Square, Dungannon is also a hub of festive fun on Saturday 26 November from 1pm to 8pm. Family focussed festive fun will take place in Market Square from 1pm including music to get you in the festive mood from on-stage DJ, Choirs and the Manhattan Swing Band, face painting and family fun activities hosted in The Space, Market Square.
The arrival of Santa and Christmas Lights Switch On will take place from approximately 7.45pm. Market Square Car Park will be closed from 5pm to 10pm with diversions in place during this time.
Maghera Walled Garden and Town Centre has its turn on Saturday 3 December from 3pm to 6pm.
In The Walled Garden, from 3pm to 5pm, you can meet Santa in the Potting Shed, be entertained as you stroll around the garden and toast your own marshmallows, or get crafty for Christmas in the Lurach Centre, where all the family can make a Christmas Badge, write their letter to Santa and post it in The Walled Garden post box, make a Christmas Decoration or special reindeer food, or get your face painted.
The Christmas Lights Switch-On will start with Santa making his way from the Walled Garden to Hall Street at 5.15pm, with illuminations happening at 5.30pm.
Finally, Coalisland showcases its brand-new Christmas tree situated in the civic space at the Cornmill Heritage Centre and Car Park on Sunday 4 December from 1pm to 7pm.
The popular Na Fianna Christmas Fair will be held in the Parochial Centre from 1pm to 5pm, followed by the Christmas Lights Switch On, starting with Christmas music performed by The Crafy Crows live on stage. From 5pm to 6.30pm, there’ll be free face painting, the opportunity to take a selfie with festive characters, or to meet Santa in his cosy corner in the Cornmill.
Craic Theatre will knock your Christmas socks off on stage from 6.30pm to 6.50pm. The Christmas Lights Switch-On will take place at approximately 6.50pm.
There’ll be lots of entertainment to make town centre shopping go with a swing including music and Christmas characters, all happening between 12pm – 3pm each Saturday from 3 to 17 December.
For full details of the Christmas programme of activities across Mid Ulster, including information on planning your visit if you have accessibility needs, click here