A LONG-established and popular Christmas event in Saltcoats will not be taking place this year.

The Herald can reveal that the decision has been taken not to hold the Saltcoats Christmas Carnival in 2023.

Organisers of the hugely popular event - which acts as the Saltcoats 'Christmas lights switch-on' - have decided to step aside this year due to the constraints placed upon them by other commitments.

Last year marked the return of the event for the first time post-Covid and the organisers - who arranged the event on a voluntary basis - have certainly bowed out on a high.

READ MORE: Saltcoats Christmas Carnival: Festive event returns after two years

Councillor Jean McClung, who has worked with the organising committee on previous events, told us that she was sorry to see the event bow out but that she understands the reasons behind the decision.

She said: “I was truly sorry to hear that there will be no Saltcoats Christmas Carnival this year.

"However, I fully understand the reasons for the Carnival committee’s decision to step aside after many years’ service to the community.  

"I know that organising the event is time- consuming, with many strands having to be drawn together. "

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Previous Saltcoats Christmas Carnivals were a huge success.

Cllr McClung also shared fond memories of events gone by, which she hopes will live long in the memories of local residents.

She continued: "We have had Santa abseiling down the Town Hall Tower; a stage with professional and amateur performers; and well-known characters from films, such as the Grinch, Elsa and Anna from 'Frozen' and many more.

"There was also the 'keepie-up' expert who always entertained us with his skills. On one occasion we had real reindeer in attendance!

"The hugely popular funfair in the station car park was always well-attended and, of course, in addition to displaying his acrobatic skills, Santa was also on duty to meet his young admirers and dispense presents."

The Saltcoats and Stevenston ward councillor also looked to pass on her well wishes and thanks to those who made the event possible in the past.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Previous Saltcoats Christmas Carnivals were a huge success.

Cllr McClung added: "Members of the committee, such as Alec Wilkie of Clyde Studio and Elaine Meney of the Melbourne Café, while running businesses as well as having family commitments, took on the organisation and co-ordination of all of this.

"Tom McCamont, the treasurer, has also to be commended for his input, as have all the other volunteers.

"They have given of their time selflessly for years. The committee did try to find others to whom they could pass on the baton this year.

"It was hoped that members of some of the other community groups in the town would become involved, but they are all busy with their own groups’ activities and felt the task would be too onerous at this time. 

"I personally would like to thank each and every member of the committee for the many hours they have devoted to organising the carnival over the years.

"Last year’s event was, as always, a resounding success and I know the people of Saltcoats, young and old, will be saddened by the fact that there will be no such event this year."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Previous Saltcoats Christmas Carnivals were a huge success.

However, in the true spirit of Christmas, Cllr McClung says she remains hopeful that the event will return in the future.

She also confirmed that despite the carnival not going ahead, Saltcoats will still have its festive lights display.

She told the Herald: "Hopefully in 2024 a new committee can be formed. As I have said before in this newspaper, community engagement in the Three Towns is alive and well, and I have every faith in the people of Saltcoats to get behind the formation of a new committee.

"I know from discussions with the retiring committee members that they will be happy to pass on to any new volunteers the expertise acquired over a lengthy period.

"A new committee would also continue to have the support of North Ayrshire Council.

"Fortunately, there will still be a Christmas tree, provided by NAC, and lights, already acquired by the committee, will once again be put up in the town.” 

One of the committee members, Elaine Meney from the Melbourne, said the committee will continue to work for the town - even with the carnival not taking place this year.

She added: “The current committee are using their available time this year to upgrade the display in Countess Street and in 2024 intend to see through repairs and upgrades for other areas in the town centre. 

"The committee is still active in that respect and hopefully, although the carnival day will not take place in 2023, local parents, residents and businesses will come forward to volunteer to take over for 2024.

"They would receive full support and guidance from the outgoing committee on how the current format of the carnival event is planned.”

For those still wishing to attend Christmas light switch-ons in the Three Towns, events are taking place in Ardrossan on Friday, November 24, and in Stevenston on Friday, December 1.