Kids left out in cold at Ballyclare’s ‘Frozen’ lights switch on

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A local mother has complained after several children were turned away from the Frozen exhibit at Ballyclare’s Christmas switch on.

The Frozen-themed ‘Ice Castle’ was held at Ballyclare Town Hall on Saturday.

Ballyclare mother-of-two Karina McFarlane was unable to get tickets for her children, and claims that the small number of tickets and limited venue size left many children disappointed. She told the Times: “When parents rang the tickets were already sold out. There were two sittings of 100 tickets. For the whole of Ballyclare that’s a joke.

“Upstairs in the Town Hall is too small. Frozen is so popular at the minute. If it had been at the leisure centre they could have hosted 1,000 kids in two or three sittings. There were hundreds of kids turned away in tears with upset parents.”

Karina says that the situation was made worse by the fact that only those with tickets for the Ice Castle could visit Santa. She continued: “Before you could stand and queue to see Santa but this year many children didn’t see him as only those with tickets could visit the grotto.

“There were people from places like Glengormley who had their own switch on. I had no problem with them being there but it meant fewer tickets for locals.”

She continued: “I don’t like the new format, I think they should hold the event the same way it has always been done.”

A spokesperson for Newtownabbey Borough Council commented: “200 tickets were available for two sessions (3-4pm and 4-5pm) allowing 100 children (maximum number complying with health and safety regulations), plus their accompanying adults, to visit per session. Despite last year’s figure of 22 visitors to the Santa’s grotto at the Town Hall, it was agreed to maintain this feature as part of the Christmas programme. This year’s event however, surpassed expectation and sold out in the few days leading up to the event. The event was a great success and received excellent feedback. The Council however appreciates that those who could not obtain tickets were disappointed and will consider feedback from this event as part of the planning process for Christmas 2015.”