Derry will this weekend host one of its largest ever festivals as local people and visitors celebrate it’s recently confirmed status as the Hallowe’en capital of the world.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in a kaleidoscopic programme of events throughout today and tomorrow in the run-up to the main parade, fireworks and night-time entertainment at venues across the city.
Hotel accommodation across the city has been booked solid well in advance of the celebrations and an influx of first time visitors from other parts of Ireland and beyond could also be on the cards after Derry was named the world’s top Hallowe’en destination in a poll by America’s largest publication, ‘USA Today.’
The city took the title after beating off competition from a series of legendary horror hotspots including Transylvania, Salem and Sleepy Hollow, as well as capital cities across the world including New York, Paris and London.
Under the banner theme of ‘Rise Of The River Gods,’ this year’s festival programme is already well under way, with dozens more themed events to take place in and around the city centre and across estates.
Over the past weeks and months hundreds of local people have been beavering away behind the scenes making props and costumes, learning dance routines, music set pieces and putting all the pieces together to help ensure the ‘Rise Of The River Gods’ Carnival Parade tomorrow evening at 7pm is one to remember.
The North-West Carnival Initiative have been working closely with Derry City and Strabane District Council to ensure it maintains and builds upon the high quality now expected from the annual parade, with input from 30 community, school and dance groups including Greater Shantallow Community Arts, In Your Space, Bluebell Arts Project, Ibuki Taiko and Kabalkat.
Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of public Hallowe’en events in the city centre, although the celebrations have come a long way since a live music concert was staged in the town back in 1986.
The parade will move off from the car park at the Council Offices and makeits way up Strand Road before returning along the Quay.
The crowds are then expected to move towards the river and line the quay for the annual Fireworks Finale over the River Foyle from 8 p.m, followed by outdoor live music at the Victoria Market stage from 8.15 pm from the Balkan Alien Sound and at 9 pm from Thumpin’ Jellyfish.