HALLOWEEN bonfires in the Athy area were avoided by the council sending in skips to areas where fires would traditionally be lit.
This action, coupled with an amazing fancy dress parade and lazer light show in Athy which offered an alternative celebration made sure Halloween went off safely.
10 skips were placed in areas around Athy in the days leading up to Halloween and the council removed rubbish from one area in the town where it had been actively stockpiled in anticipation of a bonfire on Halloween night.
Meanwhile, the Athy Town Promoters group organised fancy dress parade and lazer light show, was a tremendous success. Event organisers estimate that approximately 1,000 people attended the event.
Athy Municipal District Cathaoirleach Cllr Ivan Keatley told the Kildare Nationalist that people who hadn’t been at the event but had seen it on social media regretted not having been there.
“The laser light show was a novel event, it was the first time that something like this had been done outside a concert setting and we were apprehensive about it. But it went off really well and people who weren’t there but saw the social media posts regretted not being there. This is something we have to keep doing. There are significant costs but I think it is better to spend money and to be proactive to prevent these bonfires rather than retrospectively cleaning up after bonfires happen. That plus the risk to people’s lives and public safety issues make events like this worthwhile. If you were to add up the cost of the fire services attending these bonfires it wouldn’t be long before that cost would be more than what we have spent on this family event.”
The Halloween event started last Tuesday evening with a fancy dress parade from Woodstock Street. The parade was led by pipers Tim Fitzpatrick and Joseph Byrne, and performers from the CK performers group.
300 children in costume marched in the parade at which Athy gardaí, the Kildare Civil Defence, Athy Order of Malta, Athy Tidy Towns and Kildare Co Council officials provided stewarding for the parade.
When the parade reached Emily Square a new local band called The Years entertained the audience before a performance by professional drummers while the laser light show was simultaneously taking place.
The fancy dress competition winners were Orla Stone, Lee Cullen and Amy Lawlor and the pumpkin carving competition winners were Oscar Webster, Kaitlyn Robinson and James and Michael O’Meara. Conor Murphy won the biggest pumpkin competition.