CowParade Balmoral launch

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The eagerly anticipated CowParade made its first public appearance on Friday, as a herd of the fibre-glass cows, including two or three from Derry, joined their bovine comrades at the Balmoral Show in Belfast.

Almost 20 of the life-size imitation cows were displayed on the Cattle Lawn on the closing afternoon of the Balmoral Show at the King’s Hall.

Among those displayed was “Ermintrude”, the first Cow-Moonity Cow to be completed following a community art competition by CowParade NI presenting partners Derry City Council, ILEX, and Belfast City Council. The colourful Friesian was one of several winning entries, and was based on a design by the Maydown Community Association Seniors’ Group reflecting the Irish diaspora.

Also on parade on Friday was Mini Moo “Minnie” created by Derry’s Foyle Haven project. ‘Minnie’ was painted by Foyle Haven services users and artist Eithne Gfeller and reflected the journey of Foyle Haven residents.

The life size fibreglass cows will be on display throughout Northern Ireland between June and October this year, culminating in a charity auction in November to raise money for both Barnardo’s Northern Ireland and Depaul Ireland.

CowParade has appeared in over 70 cities worldwide since beginning in Chicago in 1999. However, its arrival in Northern Ireland marks the first time the quirky 3D art has been displayed across an entire region, and is also the first post-conflict zone to host the cows.

Rachel Hart, Asitis Consulting’s Event Manager for CowParade NI, explained why this is the perfect year to finally bring CowParade to our shores: “This is a very special year for tourism in Northern Ireland with so much going on, such as the Titanic centenary, the Irish Open, and the build-up to Derry/Londonderry’s City of Culture year in 2013. This brilliant, fun and free event will be the icing on the cake for tourists. Not only that, but CowParade has a proven history of generating revenue and boosting the local economy.”

The cows will now be painted in public painting spaces, to be displayed at the end of June. Businesses and artists interested in participating can find out how to get involved on www.cowparadeni.com or by calling 028 9043 8677.