Nothing says Halloween quite like a magical fireworks display to light up the skies and this year’s Spooktacular festivities at Dungannon’s Hill of the O’Neill had been billed as revealing the mystery of the ancient hill with a grand fireworks finale.
However, the exciting reveal will have to wait for another year after a murky blanket of fog cast a shadow over the Mid Ulster Council organised event.
Rain and lingering fog descended on the hill shortly before the event started, obscuring the ten minute display and marring the enjoyment of hundreds who had been excitedly counting down the clock to the celebrations.
For those who make Dungannon’s Halloween celebrations a yearly tradition, it’s usually well worth the wait.
But this year, many people left the show early and disappointed.
Some wondered if the show should have been rescheduled, and took to social media to vent their frustration.
One Facebook user said the rate-payer funded display had been as well planned as the new road layout in the town centre, while others described it as ‘an epic fail’, ‘a flop’ and ‘a disaster’, and those were just the polite comments.
A mother expressed her annoyance at bringing her children for the first time to the display and seeing nothing.
“It was a terrible massive disappointment for the kids. All I could hear were bangs”, she posted.
Another visitor said: “We were on Castle Hill. People started leaving straight away to see if you could get a better view from the Square but still nothing. A lot of cursing from people walking down the hill.”
One cheeky commentator said he’d seen better fireworks in his back garden.
In fact, the show was best observed by those who stayed out of the town where they were able to see the fireworks explode above the fog shrouding the Hill of the O’Neill.
A spokesperson for the council acknowledged that the weather had made the event disappointing for everyone.
“Unfortunately, the event organisers were forced to make the decision last night at the Halloween display in Dungannon to stop the launch of the fireworks as soon as it became apparent that visibility was poor due to heavy fog and inclement weather”, she said.
“This was disappointing for everyone involved and we are sorry that conditions beyond our control resulted in the cutting short of the display which was the finale to an otherwise successful evening on the hill, which had a great reception from those in attendance. The decision has been taken to launch the remaining fireworks at the Christmas festivities at the end of November. We are mindful of the feedback received from those who attended last night’s event and will use this in future events.”