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Westport Toy Show ensures Christmas cheer


SURPRISENiamh Kerrigan received a personal message from the author of her favourite book ‘Girls Play Too’, RTÉ’s Jackie Hurley, during the Westport Chamber of Commerce virtual toy show.

Áine Ryan

IT was all festive fun and Christmas cheer last Friday night for the thousands of viewers who tuned in to the very first Westport Toy Show.  
Broadcast live from the town hall by Dowd Media, the programme was packed with heartwarming toy reviews by local children, as well as interviews, competitions and quizzes.
Organised by the town’s Chamber of Commerce, the busy programme also hosted Zoom calls with local sports heroes and a medley of live and recorded performance by well-known musicians from the area.
Speaking on behalf of Westport Chamber of Commerce, its President, Helen Gavin, said:“We would wholeheartedly like to thank everyone who tuned in and who took the time to send messages of support and thanks after the show.”
She added that one highlight of the evening was a very special surprise for Louisburgh’s Niamh Kerrigan who received a personal message from the author of ‘Girls Play Too’,  her favourite book. RTÉ’s Jackie Hurley sent Niamh a personalised message along with encouraging words from Niamh’s sporting heroes Mayo player, Sarah Rowe and Cork player, Rene Buckley.  
“We are truly delighted with the positive feedback we have received about the Westport Toy Show and would like to thank the stars of the show who shared their favourite toys and feedback with us,” Ms Gavin said.

Festive atmosphere
The festive atmosphere was created by Elsie Higgins and the show was presented by Ed Rose and Dermott Langan. It was the job of Dowd Media to transform the town hall into three live studios: a main stage with live music acts;  a second studio for interviews at Santa’s grotto; and a studio for remote interviews via Zoom with such local GAA stars as Lee Keegan, Mark Moran, Rory Brickenden, Fionn McDonagh and Eoghan McLaughlin.
It marked the beginning of Westport’s Virtual Christmas Festival and the huge drive to encourage people to ‘shop local this Christmas’. There are lots of quirky and unique ideas already on the Westport Chamber Christmas Markets Facebook page, Helen Gavin said.     
“Here, local businesses which are members of the Westport Chamber will be posting exclusive offers, discount codes, and Christmas promotions.
The group now has over 750 members, and this is set to increase over the coming days.
The overall goal of the markets is to engage Christmas shoppers with Christmas offers in Westport before we reopen on the expected date of December 1,” she explained.
As part of the online Westport Christmas Festival, the chamber also plans to run a Virtual Treasure Hunt through Facebook on Sunday next, November 29 and, of course, a series of Facebook Lives with Santa and Mrs Claus.
Regarding the turning on of the Christmas lights, there will be more on that in next week’s Mayo News!  

Check the Westport Chamber Facebook page for all updates regarding the festival.