St Patrick’s Day 2016: Painting the town green

The annual  St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival makes it's way through Derry last year. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 17.03.15
The annual St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival makes it's way through Derry last year. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 17.03.15

Tens of thousands of people are expected to create a sea of green in Derry’s city centre this week as the St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival 2016 is rolled out.

This year’s festival theme is The Land Of The Little People and will be woven into an entire weekend of festivities kicking off on St Patrick’s day itself on Thursday and running through until Sunday.

The Carnival Parade will run from 2pm to 3pm on Thursday, setting off from the Council car park at Queen’s Quay.

The organisers have revealed that an otherwordly procession of “pixies, elves, nymphs and giants” will lead the themed parade.

Bracketing this, there will be a free Pixies Paradise Festival at the Peace Garden on Foyle Street taking place on Thursday from 12.30pm to 2pm and 3.30pm to 5pm.

This Paradise Festival will reopen on Friday, March 18 from 12pm to 4pm, and local people are encouraged to bring all their own little people along.

The Mayor Elisha McCallion will be staging a Free Family Fun Day on St Patrick’s Day from 12.30pm to 5.30pm at The Guildhall, which will become a giant play area.

The Fun Day is open to all ages with interactive gaming from Game On among the main attractions as well as Bouncy Castles and Face Painting.

The city centre meanwhile will be alive with music, street performers, animation and installations, and The Craft Village will be a hive of activity on St Patrick’s Day for the Little Folk Fest and children’s entertainment programme from 12.30pm to 5pm. Talented local artists lined up for the event include Connor O’Kane and the Derry Folk, Leppard/Mc Laughlin school of Dance and Longtower Folk Group.

Traditional Irish Stew will be served, with themed cupcake decorating, Face Painters and Balloon Modellers.

Back at Guildhall Square there will be a free Talent Northwest event at a Festival Marquee from 12.30pm to 5.30pm. Greater Shantallow Community Arts will host a day of entertainment for all ages, with comedian Billy Carlin compering proceedings, and some of best local musicians coming together to entertain the masses.

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