Derry gets ready for five day Halloween horror fest

�Lorcan Doherty
�Lorcan Doherty

Shape shifters, a Dragon Safari, a Hall of Horrors, and a fireworks spectacular are among the highlights of a five day extravaganza planned for Derry’s annual Halloween festivities.

Around 30,000 people are expected to descend on the city for this year’s Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival which organisers will say will be bigger and better than ever before.

Running from October 27-31, the jam-packed programme will feature everything from creepy catwalk couture, to scary Dragon Safari adventures with some expert input from none-other than Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway.

The fashion supreme will head up a panel of spooky style experts tasked with judging Derry’s first Shape Shifters Catwalk competition in the city’s Craft Village on October 27.

Budding fashionistas are invited to come up with some deadly designs on the night with the winning costumes unveiled at the carnival parade finale.

A series of workshops and competitions to encourage participation in the catwalk event are also being organised.

Speaking ahead of the event, the Mayor Cllr Kevin Campbell said he was very impressed with the line-up of events that are organised.

“The city is really upping the ante this year as we prepare for 2013 and the City of Culture celebrations. Halloween in the city promises to be fantastic with so many activities for families and more events than ever aimed at encouraging people from all over Ireland to make a date and come to Derry to be part of the Halloween experience.”

The Mayor singled out the Dragon Safari event, which will see St Columb’s Park transformed into a wildlife extravaganza with large scaly beings roaming the park and woodland, as the must-see event of the festival.

“The dragon safari sounds really fantastic and something the kids will really enjoy. I love the idea of people roaming around St Columb ‘ s Park in search of giant scaly dragons that are lurking about among the trees and foliage. I would advise anyone interested in taking part in this adventure hunt to book early!”

Tens of thousands of people are expected in the city to join in the festivities, with ghostly tours, spooky shows, terrifying tales and wacky workshops in the weekend ahead of Halloween on 31 October, when the festival will draw to a spectacular close with the magic, music and mayhem and a Fang-tastic Fireworks display.

Other highlights include Witches and Wizards at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum, ghostly tales in the Workhouse Museum, Walled city markets and a return visit by the Continental Market while St Columb’s Hall will once again be transformed into a Hall or Horrors featuring loads of storytelling and performances for kids.

Eddie Rowan, NITB events manager, who are supporting the festival said: “The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is delighted to support the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in this momentous year of NI2012.

“This event has gone from strength to strength and has firmly established Derry-Londonderry as home to the spookiest and most elaborate Halloween celebrations.

“It is a great draw for tourists, attracting visitors from both within Northern Ireland and beyond, showcasing the City ahead of 2013 when it is crowned the inaugural UK City of Culture.”

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