Party time for Belfast as street carnival swings to a samba beat
A crowd of more than 20,000 people lined the streets of Belfast on Saturday at the annual City Carnival to welcome the city’s new Lord Mayor, Councillor Pat Convery.
Giant butterflies, mini bumble bees, samba dancers and big carnival bands were among hundreds of performers who took part in the ‘Puppet Parade’ through the sun-filled city centre streets.
The parade started off at Custom House Square and finished up at the grounds of Belfast City Hall, which was transformed into a giant open-air family party zone.
Carnival goers witnessed colourful performers make their way through Belfast in the celebration of life, dance and music.
The artistic direction for the Belfast City Council event was provided by BEAT.
David Boyd, director of BEAT, fulfilled his promise to provide a wondrous feast of colour and sound. “We have been working with community groups from the four corners of the city,” he said.
“This is the first year, the parade has finished at the the City Hall, which is at the heart of the city and a place for everyone. The sunshine today has been perfect,” he said.
A ‘Puppet Picnic’ in the grounds of the City Hall, officially introduced the new first citizen to the people of Belfast, and stocks of iced tea, ice cream and frozen yoghurt provided a welcome cool treat for families.
The new Lord Mayor said: “Today has been fantastic. A real chance for people to participate in a lively day.
“It's great to see such a turnout and I hope everyone has enjoyed the day as much as I have, and will return in the future.”
Brazilian born Mariana Pihno took part in the parade.
She said: “I am loving Belfast. The people are so open to embracing our culture.
“They engage, learn fast and bring their own elements to the show. The flavour of Brazil is all about mixture and that is what I've seen today.”
Saturday rounded off with a evening Carnival Party at Mandela Hall and a Samba wind down party ended the weekend of celebrations on Sunday.
Pat Convery added: “During this year, I will be adopting the motto, ‘working for Belfast’.
“I want further inward investment, continuing growth in tourism and to promote the health and well being of the citizens of this city.”