On Saturday morning, the Scarecrows, Warlock’s Wicked Windows and the fabulous SEED food market (part of the South East Economic Development group) kept the early arrivals entertained and were only a preamble to what was to come. The Newcastle Centre was a hub of activity with their annual Children’s Halloween Party, where tricks and treats were in abundance and great fun was had by adults and children alike.
This year’s Order of the Griffin Fancy Dress Competition did not disappoint as the quality and imagination of the entrants amazed the judges and made the selection of the winners in all three categories extremely difficult – well done to everyone who entered!
As quickly as the blue skies emerged over The Mournes, the promenade filled with excited families all waiting in anticipation of the arrival of what turned out to be one of the finest parades that Newcastle has ever seen. Music and mayhem were provided by Cool FM’s Connor Phillips on the Festival stage as he fired up the crowd in preparation of the arrival of the Parade of Light and Bedazzling Floats.
The Crimson Arrows Pipe Band led the spectacle of the weird and wonderful parade as it made its way from the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa and was met by a huge, eager and excited crowd. Wesley and May Hughes in their vintage Ford Anglia with its famous ‘Potter’ colours were flanked by Down District Council’s Chairman, Councillor Dermot Curran, Audrey Byrne, Chairperson of Newcastle Chamber, alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione (Brendan Totter, Niall Rowe and Eadaoin Quinn and four torch bearing ‘dark order monks’ on stilts. It was like a scene from The Chamber of Secrets!
Then followed a fabulous trail of local schools with their hand crafted ‘Potter’ masks and school crests and lots of parents and teachers to boot! The local schools were Newcastle Primary School, Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche, Castlewellan, St Joesph’s Carnacaville, St Patrick’s Primary, Burrenreagh, Sacred Heart Primary, Dundrum and St Mary’s Primary, Newcastle. From Railway Street to South Promenade, the crowds lined the street and cheered the passing parade which also included magnificent costumes of the characters from the ‘Potter’ movies by Star Shine Dance Group, South Regional College Art & Design students with their hand crafted snake, framed period costumes, spooky white owls and spectacular flag waving students and college staff. Mechanical spider, dog and crows also paraded alongside local sports and community groups in colourful and flamboyant outfits.
More music was provided by St Malachy’s Band from Kilcoo who kept both the parade and crowd enthused with their party music. Numerous stilt performers scuttled and crept through the parade alongside the fabulous Junior Glee’s Musical Societies performers in their sparkly costumes while the Castlewellan Youth Club flapped about as fantasy exotic birds and Bryansford Gaelic Club spooked everyone with their mechanical black birds and ghouls.
As the parade reached the festival stage, Connor Phillips invited Down District Council’s Chairman, Councillor Dermot Curran onto the stage. He praised the efforts of Newcastle traders and community groups for putting on such a fantastic display and expressed his delight with the huge attendance and the family atmosphere in Newcastle during the day. Cllr Curran continued with the prize giving for the hugely popular Order of the Griffin Fancy Dress Competition which once again had a very high quality of entrants.
A new category of Best School Display was won by Newcastle Primary School in a close run contest and thanks must go to the children, parents and teaches who worked so hard to create their school masks and displays.
The Best Float was another new category and after much debate and deliberation it was announced that Quinns Multi Bar Complex with their ‘Potter’ float creations were the winner and they were awarded a beautiful hand carved wooden plate. Again congratulations to everyone involved in this year’s parade which sets a high standard for 2012!
As the ‘Fire’ themed music, including “I’m on Fire”, “Fireworks” and “Set Fire to the Rain” resounded, the crowds joined Connor Phillips count down to another amazing fireworks display as colour, light and sound filled the sky and everyone gazed skywards in awe!
The support of the Chamber of Commerce, community groups and residents was greatly appreciated and they must surely be delighted with the success of Down District Council’s Hallowtides Festival. A particular thanks goes to the Sponsors for their contribution to the festival: AJC Electrical, Tesco, Barbican SuperValu, The Burrendale Hotel and Country Club, Golf Links House, Thumbelina and Soak Seaweed Baths.Competition Results. Best School Display: Newcastle Primary School Best Float: Quinns Multi Bar Complex Most Magical First Prize – Ghost Pirate (Anna Murray) Second Prize – Baldemort (Paul Evans) Third Price – Gloin & Gimley Dwarves (Blanad & Darragh Evans) Most Original First Prize – The Milky Bar Kid (Lorcan Perry) Second Prize – Bat (Chloe Weir) Third Prize – Mad Hatter & Bad Alice (Joanne King) Most Amusing First Prize – Car Fresheners (Ben & Eva Murphy) Second Prize – Cuckoo Clock (Reuben Millar) Third Prize – Bride of Frankenstein (Scarlet Kelly) Scarecrow Competition Winner – Cafe Creme 2nd Place – Sea Salt 3rd Place – The Donard Bar Wicked Window Competition Winner – Bon Bon 2nd Place – Painted Earth 3rd Place – Paddy Small’s Butcher]]>