Belfast Culture Night 2016 set to be biggest yet as expected 80,000 take to the streets
AN estimated 80,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Belfast city centre later for the annual Culture Night celebrations.
More than 250 events will be taking place throughout the day and into tonight with highlights including the Power Ballad Karaoke Championships in Cathedral Gardens and the Belfast Rockets Roller Derby in Writer’s Square.
One of the world’s largest dinner tables is also set to be assembled along the length of Donegall Street for the ‘Feed the 5000’ event, which will see a enormous free feast of vegetarian curry served up using environmentally friendly, bio-degradable forks and cutlery.
The feast has been set up by Belfast Harbour in partnership with Belfast Food Network and who intend bringing the feast together with surplus ingredients provided by local farmers.
Live bands, street performers and the annual Culture Night Big Drum Circle will also provide entertainment for the event, which has grown year on year since its inception eight years ago.
On a more sombre note, human rights organisation Amnesty International have been letting the public get a glimpse of the devastation caused by the civil war in Syria through using virtual reality headsets.
Watch: Culture Night Aleppo film
The headsets will allow the wearer to get a 360-degree view of the devastation caused as a result of the Syrian government’s barrel bombing campaign of the besieged city of Aleppo.
Culture Night manager Adam Turkington said the event will continue to impress and surprise all those in attendance.
“Every year, people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities converge on the city centre to celebrate the diversity and variety of Culture Night,” he said.
“This year’s event promises to be even more exciting. I’m hugely proud of what we’ve achieved with Culture Night.
“The momentum continues to grow as Belfast’s artists, creative practitioners and businesses come together to offer an enticing snapshot of the quality and depth of cultural activity in our city.”
Paul McErlean, chair of Cathedral Quarter Trust, which sponsors Culture Night, said that aside from all the fun and games, the festivities are also play a key role in supporting the Northern Ireland economy.
“Our creative industries and tourism and hospitality sectors depend on creativity, imagination and innovation for that uniquely Belfast spark that says who we are and invites the world to join in,” he said.
“Culture Night is an introduction. We need to support creativity and culture every day to ensure a thriving creative culture for the future."