The Roscommon Town Christmas Lights Committee have announced that Santa Claus will be returning to Roscommon Town to perform the ‘Switching On’ of the festive lighting for this year on next Sunday, 2 nd December. Santa will arrive in town and travel through the streets in his spectacular sleigh accompanied by St. Mary’s Convent national school band. The switch on will happen at 5.00 pm and afterwards, Santa Claus will not be rushing away, he has promised to stay and see all the children who are there on the day. The Christmas Lights Committee in the town have been working away in recent weeks erecting the huge Christmas display and there are new features again this year which people will see around the town. The Roscommon Choral Group will again supply festive music and singing for early-comers. The committee held its annual launch at Doorly’s Bar in Roscommon last Friday night. The current committee is chaired by John Doorly. Secretary is David Kearney, Treasurer is Liam Fleming and the PRO is Aidan Farrell. Speaking at last Friday night’s launch John Doorly told the Roscommon People that: ‘While Christmas has been hijacked by commercialism in so many areas, the lights committee has successfully managed to involve many non-commercial aspects to its annual project. The switching on of the lights is one of the very special events in Roscommon Town’s annual calendar’ he said. Santa Claus arrives in the town’s square in a purpose-built sleigh, accompanied by a local school band. He is greeted by an enormous crowd consisting of many children and Santa greets all of these kids individually, giving out free sweets after the switching-on ceremony is completed. Over the next days and weeks Santa Claus and his sleigh visit many schools, community centres, factories and nursing homes bringing much Christmas cheer to all, according to the committee. ‘We have in the region of 35 workers who come out and help us erect the lights every year. There are those who have been on the committee for many years and we have new people coming along every year. However men like Gerry Dervan, Jimmy Servis and Aidan Donnelly are the unofficial team-leaders over the past few years’ he said. The lights are erected to the highest electrical standards and the money is raised by an annual subscription levied on the business and professional community of Roscommon town. This is a very modest sum comparable to the quantity and quality of the lighting display but reflects the enormous voluntary effort shown each year in the erection of the festive lighting. ‘We are indebted to the businesses people of the town for their support over the years and we hope the same support will be forthcoming this Christmas. There are a lot of new businesses that have opened up in the town in recent years and we hope they will come in and support us too. We will be out collecting that money over the next couple of weeks’ said John Doorly. Many local groups are involved with the festive lights project. The County Council and the Garda are involved from the beginning, as without their help and co-operation the project could not take place. We work with the Convent School band and the Roscommon Choral Group too to make this a success each year. Santa arrives on his visits in a special sleigh which is project involving a local garage using a converted van. The finished product is stunning, complete with its own lighting and sound system. In fact it is so impressive that it made an appearance on TV3. ‘We have to thank Dermot Hughes for his help with the sleigh. It helps to make the day’ says John Doorly.