Derry Halloween carnival to get bigger with news it will run from four days to eight
DERRY'S Halloween festival is to double in size this year, from four days to eight.
Plans for this year's festival, which will run from Friday October 26 to Saturday November 3, were agreed by Derry City and Strabane District Council's business and culture committee.
The festival will have its biggest-ever budget of almost £400,000, bolstered by a new grant of £95,000 from Tourism NI.
More than 94,000 people attended the festival in 2017, a figure the council is confident of topping this year.
"The festival has grown to become one of the largest Halloween festivals in Europe and the largest in Ireland and the UK," said the council's head of culture Aideen McCarter.
This year's theme will be an extension of last year's 'Under the Samhain Moon'. It is currently being developed with local arts and culture groups.
The festival will also include 'The Ancients Return' Street Carnival, the traditional fireworks display in Derry as well as Strabane, the Hallowe'en Street Carnival, 'Awakening the Walls' to mark the start of Walls 400, a children's arts festival, harvest markets in Derry and Strabane and the Castlederg Apple Fair which will open the festival on October 26.
Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Cooper said that Tourism NI should continue to support the award-winning Halloween festival as "no other event can boast of a similar scale".
The SDLP's Martin Reilly said: "The festival fully deserves the awards that it has won and it is great to see the benefit this festival brings to wider Northern Ireland.
Deputy mayor, UUP councillor Derek Hussey, said he was delighted to see more events "in Strabane and the rural area".
"I think that there is no choice," he said, "with so many people turning up (last year), we were almost running out of space."