IT’S the most spectacular street celebration in the country and this year Derry’s Halloween Carnival Parade will be bigger, bolder and brighter than ever thanks to a record number of participants.
The North West Carnival Initiative have been overwhelmed by the response in recent weeks to the call out for performers, with record numbers expected to sing, dance and play their way through the city’s streets.
The Carnival Initiative today officially launched the parade, giving a bit of a taster of what to expect at this year’s event which will see the Return of the Ancients, from Cúchulainn to Queen Maebh, to the historic town.
Event Organiser with the NW Carnival Initiative, Jim Collins said that work was picking up pace now behind the scenes as the countdown to the festival begins.
“We always get a fantastic response from the local community, but this year the groups have outdone themselves, and we have been delighted at the level of interest,” he said.
“The parade is a community collaboration which brings together groups from all areas, making it particularly special. We work closely with Greater Shantallow Community Arts and In Your Space who have years of experience in delivering first class community events.
“And we have a wide array of groups who help with making props, costumes, arranging the choreography and music on the night, including this year the Sollus School of Highland Dance, Mullabuoy Primary School, and Destined to name just a few of the participants.
“This isn’t just a celebration of Halloween, it’s a celebration of community, inclusion and equality, where everyone has their moment to shine in front of thousands.”
This year up to 100,000 people are expected to attend events taking place over the nine days of the extended Halloween programme, which runs from October 26th up until November 3rd.
The programme features a whole host of activities for all ages, including the dynamic drumming sensations Spark, the return of the Samhain Sessions, the Jack-O-Lantern Festival, Monster Funfair, Little Horrors, Shape Shifter costume and make up workshops as well as the haunted Harvest Market.
The real highlight is always the Carnival Parade and Fireworks Finale taking place on Halloween night, with visitors flocking to the city for the internationally acclaimed event.
Festivals and Events Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jacqueline Whoriskey, said the message was definitely getting out there.
“Year on year we see more and more visitors from far flung destinations arriving in the city, to see what all the fuss is about.
“There is no doubt that our profile as the best Halloween destination is growing. For example, this year we even have a group of American students travelling up from Galway to dress up and be part of the parade.
“While we’ve made Halloween our own here in Derry for many years and it’s become a community celebration, I think that it’s beginning to capture people’s imagination and visitors want to come here and be a part of something really special.”
You can find out more about all the spooktacular celebrations in the Hallowe’en programme, which is organised and funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from the Tourism N. Ireland International Fund, live now on derryhalloween.com or follow @DerryHalloween on social media #DerryHalloween