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Carnival fun at best Culture Night yet

By Jackie Bell

Organisers of Culture Night Belfast have described this year's celebrations as 'magical' with thousands taking to the streets to celebrate the annual event.

Over 100,000 people made their way to Belfast city centre as Culture Night enjoyed its biggest year yet, with over 300 free events taking place throughout yesterday.

The fun was flowing in the north west too, with Londonderry also enjoying Culture Night with a range of entertainment on offer.

Earlier in the day, the Belfast Salutes the Sun yoga event - which traditionally kicks off Culture Night - had to be moved from the grounds of City Hall to a Cathedral Quarter studio as a result of the rain, but that didn't deter people from taking part. Organiser Elizabeth Welty said: "Last year we had around 70 people at City Hall and it was such a great event. Unfortunately the sun wasn't in our favour this year so I thought it was a safer bet to move it indoors."

Further events at City Hall went ahead as planned throughout the afternoon, including a huge group dance.

Elsewhere, Writers' Square and St Anne's Square were once again the main hubs of activity with medieval sword-fight demonstrations and Pro Wrestling Live the highlights among this year's programme.

A carnival parade also made its way through Royal Avenue, while street performers, musicians and artists were among those entertaining the crowds.

Meanwhile, a host of events took place at the Big Fish on the banks of the River Lagan for the first time, with roller derby, American football, Parkour demonstrations, and a mini Festival of Fools.

Culture Night Belfast manager, Kerry Rooney, said: "This has exceeded all of our wildest expectations. It's the ninth culture night in the city and year on year people connect with it in a way that is staggering. The word magical is overused, but Culture Night 2017 was a truly magical and transformative experience."

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