Rise of the River Gods Hallowe’en extravangza amazing success for city and district
01 November 2015
Derry certainly lived up to its proud new title as the world’s best Hallowe’en destination, with this year’s “phenomenal” carnival extravaganza attracting 50,000 revellers to Derry and Strabane over the three day festival, making it our most successful Hallowe’en event ever.
The City of Bones became the Hallowe’en party capital of the world yet again with the internationally famous celebrations reaching a captivating climax when more than 30,000 costumed revellers thronged the streets of Derry to watch the ‘Rise of the River Gods’ carnival parade, followed by the stunning Fireworks Finale which lit up the skyline along the Quay in spooktacular style! Revellers in Strabane also basked in the Halloween celebrations with a fabulous fireworks display over the Mourne River.
Heralding the Hallowe’en celebrations as a “phenomenal success”, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said the record numbers of carnival parade participants and visitors had surpassed all expectations for this year’s signature event, which saw Derry and Strabane oozing with witches, ghouls, river gods and sea serpents of all shapes, colours and sizes.
Cllr. McCallion said: “Derry City and Strabane District Council pulled out all the stops this year to wow locals and visitors alike with a magnificent Hallowe’en programme in Derry and Strabane over the three day festival which led up to the spectacular carnival parade and fireworks display.
“The ‘Rise of the River Gods’ theme for this year’s event really captured the public’s imagination and, it was fantastic to see people of all ages enjoying the family-friendly atmosphere and vast array of entertainment taking place in and around the Guildhall and Tower Museum, on the City Walls, in the Craft Village and in Strabane town centre, the Alley Theatre, Library and Gray’s Printers, as well as other key locations across the city and district.
“Derry’s carnival parade showcased the wealth of local talent and creativity this city and region has to offer, with up to 600 local children and community groups taking part in this year’s stunning spectacle. Of course superb weather conditions all worked in our favour to ensure it was an enjoyable night for everyone with a very family friendly atmosphere throughout the celebrations,” she added.
Karan Leonard, Council’s Festivals and Events Manager, said she was also delighted that Council’s continued investment in the Hallowe’en celebrations had resulted in such a positive experience for the city and district.
“The annual Hallowe’en carnival is fantastic for the city in economic terms, with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops all benefitting during the festivities. It is very rewarding to see our Hallowe’en programme go from strength to strength, all with the help of the local community who totally embrace the spirit of the event year after year. It is important to acknowledge the effort goes into the festival with input from all stakeholders and blue light services including the PSNI, Ambulance and Fire Service, without their help the event could not happen.”
Popular highlights from the carnival celebrations included the towering Riversaurus prehistoric creatures – hailed as one of the finest walkabout acts in Europe – to create an awesome presence in Guildhall Square.
‘Awakening The Walls’ roused the historic City Walls with supernatural light, fire, and sculpture installations, music and performance for two spectacular evenings, inspired by talented local artists from LUXe, North West Carnival Initiative and In Your Space.
Chateau Le Fear, the infamous Hallowe’en haunted house at Ebrington and Monster Funfair were also a roaring success, with Gothic organ recitals, ghostly tours, gruesome storytelling and the Rio Bravo Fiesta in the Craft Village conjuring up Dia de los Muertos (Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations), among the many ‘fangtastic’ events organised as part of the packed carnival programme.
With the city’s River Gods now dormant once more, it’s a case of ‘Fangs for the memories’ – until next year!