A mix of giant hares, clowns, Chinese dragons and dancers gave Belfast an exotic and multi-cultural spectacle as the Lord Mayor’s parade hit the streets at the weekend.
The city’s youngest ever mayor, Sinn Fein’s Niall O Donnghaile, led “a celebration of community inclusion and diversity” that saw hundreds of theme-costumed participants wend their way from Writers’ Square through the city, before converging on City Hall.
The parade included huge neon floats, colourful Chinese lions and dragons and even a dancing swan drawing crowds of onlookers. And it was a feast for the ears too, with the Leaping Salmon Irish and Jai Ho Indian dancers accompanied by the music from their respective traditions, intermingled with the sounds of a variety of other bands and music makers.
Stilt walkers towered over the Mad Hatter and a troupe of US-style majorettes, while over-grown Girl Guide comedy duos shared a bit of craic en route.
Mr O Donnghaile said this year’s parade reflected his desire to see Belfast presented to the world “as a more confident, prosperous and aspirational place to be”.
He said the ‘One World, One Vision, One Future’ theme behind this year’s event, was “a very apt and inspiring premise for the 2011 celebrations and clearly underlines the desire for cohesion and a move towards a more inclusive, multi-cultural and forward-thinking Belfast”.