Belfast Telegraph

Culture Night Belfast: Thrills and spills as city comes alive

Thousands flock into Belfast for huge arts party

By Michelle Smyth

Belfast city centre was closed off to traffic and opened up to music, art and roller skates last night for the sixth annual Culture Night.

The whole of the city centre became an enchanting stage, showcasing the country's very best cultural and sporting offerings.

With the humid weather, people wandering the streets and underlying buzz, little old Belfast felt very much a major cosmopolitan city last night, like Barcelona or Paris.

The familiar surroundings of Royal Avenue were illuminated by stilt-walkers from Streetwise Community Circus. Members of the circus were getting the kids involved teaching them how to spin plates (plastic) on a stick.

Just around the corner in Writers' Square, Belfast Roller Derby had a large crowd looking on enthralled at the fast, full-contact sport played on quad skates.

Claire McAuley from the league – the first in Northern Ireland– said she was delighted with the response from bystanders.

"It is great to have an opportunity like Culture Night to showcase what roller derby is all about.

With the "oohs and ahhs" coming from the intrigued crowd as the women picked themselves up and continued playing after falling to the ground, it would seem the still underground sport may just have gotten a few new fans last night.

Nearby, graffiti artist Dean Kane was busy spraying a wall with the image of Breaking Bad character Saul Goodman that caught the eye of many passers-by.

"I create a lot of pop art and it's great to do something like this that people can enjoy. I'm very proud to be able to do this on Culture Night," he said.

Elsewhere people were enjoying science demonstrations, photographic exhibitions and even games of Countdown on the street.

Julie Rosbotham, who was at Culture Night for the first time with her two children Rachel and Amy, said they all had a brilliant night.

"There is just such a fantastic vibe about the city tonight and so much happening, it is great to see," she said.

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