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‘Return of the Ancients’ Halloween celebrations are biggest yet

31 October 2018

Derry and Strabane’s Halloween celebrations have broken new ground as record numbers attended the climactic ‘Return of the Ancients’ Halloween parade and fireworks displays on Wednesday night.

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s ambitious expanded nine day programme with over 100 events across 40 venues has been overwhelmingly backed by the public with upwards of 100,000 people attending the festival that concludes this weekend.

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of the city as the carnival parade saw arts, circus and street performers from around the world join hundreds of local school children in a multi-coloured trail along the banks of the Foyle before a climactic fireworks display.

It was a scene that was replicated in Strabane as thousands of revellers gathered at the Melvin Running Track for an outdoor Halloween Disco with live music, street performers, fire jugglers and a fireworks display.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, praised the event organisers for delivering the programme and the public for supporting the festival in such large numbers.

“I would like to congratulate Council’s Festival and Events team and all their partners on delivering the ambitious programme across Derry and Strabane that included arts, music, food and family friendly entertainment,” he said.

“The record breaking attendance and the fact that hotels are booked to full capacity all week justifies our campaign to market the celebrations as an international event and underlines our reputation as the Halloween capital of the world.

“It was a stunning sight to see so many local people and visitors thronging the streets of our City and District all week and I would like to remind people that the programme continues into the weekend with lots more to see and do.”
Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the record numbers who attended this year’s celebrations was a ringing endorsement of the extension of this year’s festival.

“We have been overwhelmed by the numbers of visitors for our events so far, we have seen in excess of 20,000 people per night coming out for the Awakening the Walls Trail and over 30,000 attended the Halloween night parade and fireworks displays bringing the total figure to in excess of 100,000 people.

“This year’s nine day programme was our most ambitious yet, 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 programme runs right into the weekend with events around the First Light Day of Reflection and Remembering taking place all day on Thursday, the Museum of the Moon in the Guildhall until Friday and the Haunted Harvest Market in Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place running until Saturday.”
The Derry Strabane Halloween programme is organised and funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from the Tourism N. Ireland International Fund. 
The full programme for this year’s Halloween Festival is available online at www.derryhalloween.com.

Ends