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Elected Members approve budget of £50k for Halloween 2020 celebrations

09 June 2020
Derry City and Strabane District Council's Business and Culture Committee have approved a reduced budget of £50,000 to fund a revised programme for its Halloween 2020 celebrations.
 
Members attending Tuesday's virtual online meeting, broadcast live on Council's YouTube channel, heard that the 2020 'Awakening' themed celebrations will be a shorter five day festival running from Wednesday October 28th to Sunday November 1st.
 
The decision to approve funding will allow Council's Festival and Events team to develop and procure a schedule of events in keeping with the likely social distancing restrictions but retaining the City and District's reputation for world class Halloween celebrations.
 
The full proposed programme will be presented for approval to Members in September and is likely to be a series of small-scale events.
 
Head of Culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aeidin McCarter explained:
 
"With restrictions likely, the primary focus in planning for this year's Halloween celebrations will be ensuring that this City and District maintains its reputation as the best place in the world to celebrate Halloween.
 
"With international travel restrictions likely to still be in place, the focus will be on a local audience and community based activity however there is still an opportunity to promote to an international audience through high quality digital content.
 
"Despite the restrictions, our officers are confident that a programme can be rolled out that will include community participation and dress up, a citywide dressing scheme, the Hay Bale Sculpture Trail, digital and web content including Little Horrors and Samhain Sessions and the possibility of a television broadcast.
 
"While the budget allocation is lower than what was approved in February, it will allow for a celebration within the current public safety guidelines that will ensure that the City and District retains its reputation for  celebrating Halloween."
 
Members also heard how officers will work closely with the business and hospitality sectors to ensure that the event and promotion and the roll out of the LegenDerry food brand will assist with the easing out of the current restrictions and the wider Covid 19 recovery.
 
Last year Derry City and Strabane District Council's Halloween programme enjoyed its biggest ever programme of events with over 1,200 participants taking part in over 125 events in over 45 venues/locations.
 
Events included Awakening the Walls, Animated Trails, The Heart of Samhain at Guildhall Square/Waterloo Place which included the LegenDerry Food Village, Walled City Market, Street Theatre and Music, Samhain Sessions Live Music Programme, Little Horrors Family Friendly, Entertainment Programme, Tours and Trails, 1st Light, Carnival Parade and Fireworks.
 
The 2020 Awakening theme will encapsulate the essence of Halloween but can also be expanded upon in the current crisis to suggest the awakening of community spirit, the awakening to things that are important in life and coming out of darker times.