Larne prepares to celebrate Queen’s diamond jubilee

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LARNE will be awash with red, white and blue this week as Diamond Jubilee fever sweeps through the borough.

There will be bunting, banners and balloons galore as residents prepare to mark the Queen’s milestone anniversary in style, with street parties and a host of other special events.

The festivities begin on Sunday with a jubilee thanksgiving service at First Larne Presbyterian Church (see separate story).

But the celebrations will begin in earnest on Monday, as community groups across the borough hosts street parties, dances and a variety of events to commemorate the occasion (further details of these events can be found in the Diary Dates column on p17).

Meanwhile, at Larne Town Park, residents and visitors alike can enjoy a day of 1950s-themed celebrations as Larne Alive Jubilee Jamboree gets underway at Town Park from 2pm to 5pm.

Organised by Larne Borough Council, the event has been billed as “a marvellous jamboree of 1950s splendour” and will feature performances from a live jive band, jive lessons, circus performers, arts and crafts, vintage car displays, side stalls and a 1950s themed fancy dress competition.

Larne Alive is encouraging the public to park in town centre car parks and walk to Town Park for this event. Parking is available at Agnew Street, Fairhill, Narrow Gauge Road and Riverdale. There will be no parking allowed along Banks Head to ensure access to the park for emergency services.

At 10pm that night, the Queen has agreed to light the national beacon following a concert at Buckingham Palace. To coincide with this, Larne will join with other areas in lighting a chain of beacons across the UK. The Larne beacon will be located in the Town Park, and Chaine Music will be providing entertainment from 9.30pm, followed by a performance by Firepoise dance group.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, as Dixon Park will host a day of entertainment for young and old alike on Tuesday from 11am to 4pm. Dixon Park Residents’ Association has teamed up with Larne Drama Circle and Larne and District Historical Society to hold the free event in the park, which was restored to its former glory back in 2010 thanks to a £1 million regeneration project supported by Larne Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

A range of family-friendly entertainment and activities will take place, and Drama Circle and the Historical Society have also agreed to perform a special piece of living history in the park, which aims to be educational as well as entertaining.

Meanwhile, jubilee celebrations are taking place right across the borough.

In Ballygally, events organised by Ballygally Community Development Association, Cairncastle Community Association and the four local churches, have been planned to make it a right royal occasion for all ages.

On Saturday, June 2 there will be family fun at Ballygally beach, starting with a beach clean at 11am. All participants should meet at the slipway and equipment will be provided. Then at 12.30pm there will be a beach barbecue and at 1.30pm there will be beach games, incorporating ‘a game of three halves’ with Trevor Ringland. An afternoon tea party will take place from 3-5pm in Ballygally Hall.

Ballycarry and District Community Association is holding its jubilee celebrations on Saturday, June 2 and Monday 4

On Saturday, June 2 tere will be a Fab 50s and Swingin’ 60s fancy dress disco in Millars Bar, Ballycarry, from 8pm til late. Entrance fee £3 with prizes for the best costumes

On Monday, June 4 the day begins with a very British Traditional Street Party from 2pm – 6pm on Main Street, Ballycarry. This event is free and promises “lots of entertainment fun, games and folly for all ages”.

Following on from the day-time activities there is a children’s outdoor disco being held at the top of Fairhill from 8.30pm and ending with the lighting of a beacon at 10pm.

Everyone is welcome to all these celebrations and are encouraged to come along for a Royal good time!

Karyn Brown from Ballycarry and District Community Association said: “I think it is a fitting tribute for the Jubilee celebrations as we have something from everyone from bouncy castles to afternoon tea. These promise to be thoroughly enjoyable events and there is no better way to celebrate this special occasion than by coming along with family and friends and sharing in the community spirit and atmosphere.”