A total of 25 tractors took part in the first annual 'Christmas Lights Tractor Parade' in Ballinrobe Co. Mayo and it was a huge success, according to one of the organisers of the parade, Richard Burke.
The parade took place on Sunday, December 4, drawing an estimated crowd of close to 2,500 people.
The parade drew huge crowds to the town and created a great atmosphere coming up to the Christmas season, Burke said.
I was told there was close to 2,500 people lining the streets. We have never had a crowd as big as that for even our St. Patrick's Day parade.
"Ballinrobe is a service town and it depends on the farmers for their support throughout the year.
"They are long enough coming into the town looking at the shops so we thought it was about time they had the chance to show the town their machinery.
"Everyone that was asked to take part stood up to the plate. Not one farmer or contractor said no when we asked," Burke said.
The idea for the parade came to Burke when he seen a similar event being advertised in a different part of the country last year.
With Ballinrobe having such strong farming links he saw it as an idea that could really take off in the Co. Mayo town.
Everyone came on board, the crowds along the street were five and six people deep. Everyone who took part made a real effort to show off their machinery.
"There was also a prize for the three best tractors on show. The parade was led by Santa on a new Volvo lorry," he said.
A bucket collection which took place during the event also raised close to €1,800 for two local charities, Burke added.
Sponsors at the event included McHale Farm Machinery, AK Oils, John Ruane Texoil and Top Oil, according to Burke.
CLASS: Tractors in full throttle for this evening's Christmas Lights Tractor Parade Ballinrobe. Great video of some of the action from Leila Walsh
Posted by The Connaught Telegraph on Sunday, December 4, 2016
Video credit: Des Walsh Agri
It took a team effort to organise the event, as Burke led an organising committee made up of Sandra Crishel, Julie Walsh and Thomas Fahy.
This was also the first year that the town's Christmas lights were put up voluntarily, he said.
Burke hopes that the parade will become an annual event and will continue to grow on the success of its first year.
"We are going to sit down together to see what worked well for us this year and also to see how we could improve on the event for next year," he said.