Tens of thousands of local people and visitors have helped make Derry’s Hallowe’en finale a night to remember as Europe’s largest festival of its kind went out with a bang.
Even the weather gods smiled down on the city as the skies remained mostly dry for the celebrations.
The Under the Samhain Moon closing events saw tens of thousands line the streets and along the quay, many of them in fancy dress, for what some are already asserting was the best finale display the city has ever staged, with festivities also organised for Strabane.
Derry City & Strabane District Council had pulled out all the stops this year, as visitors across the world descended on the city to join locals for four days of spooky events, concerts, exhibitions and shows.
Highlights included the buzzing music stages, markets and entertainment laid on across Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place, Spark, the Museum of the Moon in the Guildhall and the spectacular Awakening of the Walls, which drew thousands onto the historic City Walls each night.
The ‘Releasing the Moon’ Street Carnival Parade saw arts, circus and street performers joined by hundreds of local children in a multi-coloured trail along the banks of the Foyle before a climactic fireworks display illuminated the night sky.
It was a scene that was replicated in Strabane as thousands of revellers gathered in the Main Street Car Park for live music for family friendly activities and a fireworks display over the River Mourne.
Over the weekend and into this week the Under the Samhain Moon themed Hallowe’en celebrations attracted record numbers of around 45,000 people on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night to sample the programme’s wide range of music, dance and activities.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, hailed everyone involved in another successful celebration.
“I would like to congratulate Council’s Festival and Events team and all their partners on another festival to remember as tens of thousands of people came out and sampled our unique Hallowe’en offering,” he said.
“It was a stunning sight to see so many local people and visitors thronging the streets of our City and District to take in the comprehensive programme of events on offer which gets bigger and better every year.
“I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the performers before they set off on the parade through the City on Hallowe’en night, the work that went into their choreography and costumes was astounding and shows the wealth of performing talent that exists locally.”
Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District said the positive response from the public to this year’s Hallowe’en programme proved that the festival remains one of the biggest attractions in the City and District’s events calendar.
“We were delighted to see record numbers once again attend our ambitious events programme which had a good mix of familiar favourites and new additions.
“It takes months of work on the ground to host an event of this magnitude but it is extremely rewarding for our all our Council teams when the public give their backing to the programme by attending in such large numbers.
“Our headline attractions such as Spark and Awakening the Walls again proved a massive hit with the public and the family entertainment and storytelling at all our venues were equally successful.
“The Hallowe’en Family Fun in the Craft Village, the See No Evil performance in the Playhouse and the Zombie Apocalypse at Springtown all proved popular in the City while the Fun Day in the Melvin Centre and the Trick or Treat Tours in the Alley Theatre were equally well received.”
Halloween in Derry is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Tourism NI Events Fund and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.