Organisers of big landmark festive events in South Ayrshire have assured the public that Covid will not mean that Christmas is cancelled this year, but that events will go ahead with some adjustments. 

Troon Community Council, who organise the town's Wintertainment event, have advised that it will be going ahead this year, but tat they've had to cancel the parade to "adhere to the government guidelines".

However, Santa will still be making an appearance in the town.

The event is usually unticketed and so the community council can't guarantee the number of people who would be in attendance and whether they would then need to ask people for proof of vaccination.

Scottish Government legislation, which came into effect today (October 1) puts requirements on event operators and venues to check that guests/customers have had two doses of a Covid vaccine before being allowed to enter/participate in a variety of events and establishments.

They are nightclubs and "analogous venues", sexual entertainment venues, unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, even if some are seated, unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people, and any event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

Douglas Graham of the community council explained: "We can't have a parade, we're conforming to government guidelines.

"There will stilll be everything else going on in the town, all the usual things, the lights being switched on, the shops, the only difference is there'll be no parade, everything else will still be going ahead.

"The churches will be having their wee shows, there'll be stalls in the Town Hall, the pipe-band will start it off as usual about 1pm and they'll be playing on the grass bit outside the church and the lights will be switched on about 4pm."

However, one event which didn't survive the new legislation was the Troon Round Tables's annual firework display on Barassie Beach.

Ayr Advertiser:

Organisers announced that they were left with no option but to cancel it earlier this month.

A spokesperson for the Round Table said: "Sadly this years Troon Round Table fireworks display has been cancelled for 2021.

"We have had to take this difficult decision largely due to the unticketed nature of our event.

"As organisers we need to be confident we can deliver a safe event for everyone.

"We are a small group of 11 volunteers, who have work and family commitments and there was already hours of planning put in place working closely with South Ayrshire Council.

"The challenges of crowd management could have led to increased costs. This event is run for the benefit of the community and not run for profit so any increased costs would have made the event impossible for us.

"We are as disappointed as anyone else, fireworks displays are a big part of Round Table and we are hearing similar challenges from other groups all over the country. We already have plans to start planning phases for bringing back our display in 2022."

Ayr Advertiser: Troon Councillor Craig Mackay.Troon Councillor Craig Mackay.

SNP councillor for Troon, Craig Mackay said: "I know the Round Table and Community Council volunteers who organise both these events put a huge effort into ensuring they run both smoothly and safely. Last year no such events were possible, and it is a great shame that the ever-popular fireworks display again can't happen.

"It is however good news for our local shops and cafes that Wintertainment will return this Christmas. I can very much appreciate that the usual full-scale parade is not possible due to the continuing Covid-19 uncertainties. I accept the organisers taking a more cautious approach, in line with events across the country, but it's great that the community again has an opportunity to come together to celebrate the start of this year's festive period."

Ayr Advertiser: Councillor Phillip Saxton.Councillor Phillip Saxton.

Labour Councillor Phillip Saxton commented: "Unfortunately the annual Troon Wintertainment is to be scaled down this year.

"I can understand because of Covid-19 that for safety reasons maybe the presence of big crowds is regarded as being unsafe in regards to the transmitting of the infection.

"There will be some stalls and some outside activity, the shops will be open and will hopefully get a much needed turn and I believe Santa Clause will be showing his face.

"I hope we can look forward to next year I hope when we get back to normal, my thanks to all the organisers.

"The round table firework display similar to wintertainment, with all the organisation that goes into the running of this event and the funding required which is in its thousands it would be a disappointment if the restrictions changed, and the event being cancelled at the last minute is not a risk I presume they will take as it it could have consequences for future displays."

Ayr Advertiser: Councillor Bob Pollock.Councillor Bob Pollock.

Bob Pollock, Scottish Conservative councillor for the area said the vaccine passport scheme has created 'confuson and uncertainty' for organisers of public events. He said: "The Scottish Conservatives have raised a number of concerns with the Scottish Government with regards to the implementation of the vaccination passport scheme which has generated confusion and uncertainty with organisers of public events, and has been strongly criticised by the licensing trade and representatives of the night time economy.

"From a local perspective I would be very disappointed if these two landmark events in the Town’s diary could not go ahead.

"Wintertainment in particular is a huge draw into the town centre and with businesses struggling to recover from the impact of Covid the potential loss of trade at a critical time of the year for them could be devastating."