Late January tends to be a time of belt-tightening and hiding from the elements, but there was a definite festival buzz among shoppers in Belfast city centre over the weekend.
As part of the Backin’ Belfast campaign, traders were battling to lure customers in to the city centre with an package of attractive deals and vibrant street entertainment.
On one corner, drummers created irresistible samba rhythms, on another, a gang of buskers broke into a chorus of Johnny Cash classic ‘I Shot a Man in Reno’.
Elsewhere in a city centre that has been suffering from flag protests, appalling weather and recession, you could sample delicious treats or pause in Victoria Square for a short blast of street theatre.
On Saturday, the city council kicked off its Backin’ Belfast campaign with a host of colourful events across the city centre — from live street art in Cornmarket and Street Countdown in Rosemary Street to breakdancers in CastleCourt and fire juggling in St Anne’s Square.
The Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau, which is coordinating the campaign, said it had got off to a great start, generating an unprecedented number of offers to entice more people back into the city.