Organiser’s festival highlights

These colourful dancers took part in the Earhart Festival Carnival Parade on Sunday. INLS2113-187KM
These colourful dancers took part in the Earhart Festival Carnival Parade on Sunday. INLS2113-187KM

Against a backdrop of one of the biggest weekends the city’s ever seen, the organisers of this year’s Amelia Earhart Festival say they’re thrilled that despite the weather and the competition from some international superstars, their community festival managed to pull in thousands of local spectators.

From school children to golf enthusiasts, musicians to actors, hundreds of home grown participants ensured some unforgettable moments celebrated from Galliagh, Shantallow and the city centre itself.

Taking time to catch a breath after a hugely busy week, festival organiser Ollie Green told the ‘Sunday Journal’, this year’s event was the biggest challenge yet for everyone at Greater Shantallow Community Arts.

“We were very conscious at the outset of the competition from the Big Weekend, but looking at it all now we’re absolutely amazed that so many people came out to support us.

“This year, we had our biggest audience since the very first festival 14 years ago. We introduced a number of new events including the inaugural festival of golf and over 100 new youngsters registered with the Foyle Golf Centre as a result.

“Our cultural carnival involved schools and community groups from right across the city and it was amazing to see the colours and floats on display.”

A massive 800 local performers participated in the festival over the week long run.

“It was easy to see, from right across the city, the level of support we had for the theme of this year’s event which was really about showcasing local talent,” says Ollie.

“The number of people we had on stage in a variety of different art forms was astounding. We had local kids in groups like our Streetfeet dance group and then we had the bigger, more established names like Bronagh Gallagher and musician Danny McGilloway.”

“We like to think that essentially, this year’s festival was the living example of the fact that title aside, Derry is a city of culture, every single year and that’s what the Amelia Earhart Festival will always seek to showcase.”