His usual hangout is a dustbin on Sesame Street, but this Sunday Oscar The Grouch will be bringing some festive cheer to Adare when he switches on the Christmas tree lights in the village.
Cartoonist and puppeteer Carroll Edward Spinney, who voices the character of the Grouch on the iconic TV series – as well as that of Big Bird – will be the special guest at the lighting of the tree.
And he will be bringing along his cantankerous green friend to spark off some festive cheer to Adare.
Mr Spinney is a good friend of Tom Kane, former owner of Adare Manor hotel, and has been a regular visitor to the village for many years, often staying at the hotel for Christmas.
“He and his wife Debra have always been very giving of their holiday time to the locals in Adare and just love to meet up with young children and of course the now adults who remain avid fans of Sesame Street. We are just thrilled that they have taken the time to join us for our festivities this year,” said Tom O’Keeffe, chairman of the village hall committee.
“Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch are amongst world’s favourite TV characters and Caroll Spinney just loves to visit Ireland. Both he and his wife Debbie are of Irish descent and he is the ninth cousin, twice removed, of Barack Obama,” he added.
The day will get underway at 1pm with a Christmas market in the village hall which runs until 6pm, after which the official tree lighting ceremony will take place. This will be accompanied by carol singing and refreshments will be provided.
Special memory bulbs will be on sale at the hall and people are invited to sponsor a light on this year’s community Christmas tree in memory of a loved one. In return, they will receive a Christmas card designed by local artist Shannon Bell containing the names of all those in whose memory bulbs have been bought. The cost is €5 per light/name.
“The official turning on of the lights in Adare is a somewhat poignant occasion with the memory bulbs as people gather to remember their loved ones, but it turns out to be joyous occasion with a visit from Santa Claus who always has a bag of sweets for the children, the local choir joins us for a few carols and both Fr Noonan and Canon Liz Beasley will also be there on the evening,” Mr O’Keeffe said.
“It’s really the village hall committee’s way of giving something back to the community of Adare and is designed around enhancing the local community spirit,” he added.