Multi-coloured tree chandeliers, an odd socks washing line and eye-catching stretches of coloured water were just a few of the creative efforts that adorned every nook and cranny of the sun-drenched Waterworks park — much to the delight of thousands of children.
Just under 10,000 people flocked to the opening event of the 13th Belfast Children's Festival at the north Belfast park on Saturday to enjoy a fun-filled day of art and crafts.
Hordes of energetic youngsters poured through the gates at midday with many staying right through to closing at 8pm, making the most of the free creative activities on offer.
Usually the Waterworks is an oasis of calm for greylag geese and mute swans. But the weekend’s activities saw the decibels soar with chattering children, theatrical skits, puppetry, circus acts and vocal performances from a wide variety of talent including the Inishowen Gospel Choir, Cara Cowan, Goodbye Pluto and Isobel Anderson.
The park was also awash with colour from original artwork made by 30 local schools and community groups. Multi-coloured tree chandeliers, an odd socks washing line that spanned the width of the park, enormous hand-crafted polka dots and stretches of coloured water were just a few of the unusual sights enjoyed by the little visitors and their families.
New Lodge Arts, Young at Art and Westland Community Group all worked tirelessly to ensure the park was a hive of activity. Madam Tip Top and Felix Flip Flop from Cahoots NI theatre company entertained children with their moving Flea Circus, a performance loved by Mark McDermott (6) and his brother Sean (8) from Ardoyne.
Mum Cathy said: “Mark has Asperger’s, so it can be hard to keep him entertained, but he's loved being here. This sort of event feeds his curious nature and he won a goldfish earlier, so he is over the moon.”
Also enjoying the day was Lana Turner (7) and ten-year-old Aaron Turner, from the Cliftonville area of the city, who were delighted with the badges they made at one of the craft stalls.
Their uncle John said: “It's been a fantastic day. This is such a brilliant idea for the kids.”
The ten-day festival continues at venues across the city until Sunday, May 30. For further details call 028 9033 4455.