A night of culture in Downpatrick created an enormous buzz around the town during Culture Night NI recently.
Dan McEvoy, chairman of the Downpatick Community Collective, said: “A second Culture Night was held in Downpatrick on Friday the 18 September. The event was delivered by local community group the Downpatrick Community Collective in conjunction with Downs Arts Centre, Down Museum , Down Community Arts, SERC and the St Patrick’s Centre.
“The main event was held in St Patrick’s Square and delivered from a central marquee and a wide variety of acts performed on the stage during the course of the evening including, Highland and Irish dancing, fire eating, traditional music from local musicians with a local nine piece Commitments tribute band, Mr Pitiful’s Chain of Fools closing the event with their brilliant numbers.
“Several hundred people attended and in addition to enjoying the on-stage entertainment they also enjoyed interactive sessions with a variety of street artists including the samba band, local clowns, stilt walkers, face painters, sand castle building, live drummers, oil painters, an Art Attack caravan, and many more.”
Dan McEvoy added: “Although the central focus was in the Marquee situated in St Patrick’s Square, art revellers had a wide variety of events to enjoy from more than one location including a dramability premier in the Arts Centre and the art exhibition by George H Smyth, stone sculpture in the Museum, a walking tour of Downpatrick and free admission to the St Patrick’s story in the St Patrick’s Centre where there was a photographic exhibition by Downpatrick Photographic Club.
“The Collective hope to build on this year’s success and we already have ideas to enhance our 2016 event. We’d like to give a huge thanks to all those who assisted in whatever way with delivering the 2015 event. Downpatrick is now truly part of the all Ireland Culture Night program and this year’s event has demonstrated that partnership working delivers on the ground”.
Also enjoying the fun on the night was Newry Mourne and Down District Chairperson Cllr Naomi Bailie who said at her opening address in the St Patrick Square, that: “Culture Night is an all-Ireland annual event and it is just fantastic that Downpatrick (and Newry) are now part of the bigger Culture Night programme of events.
“Culture Night is all about people. People coming out, participating, having fun and helping to shape the evening in all manner of ways. For us, Culture Night is a shared and joined-up experience, there’s a surprise at every turn, on our streets and in our much loved local venues such as the Down Arts Centre, Down County Museum, here in St Patrick Square and of course the Saint Patrick Centre. Culture Night is also very much alive in the other side of our District too with Newry and Mourne Museum and The Sean Hollywood Arts Centre both hosting numerous events.
“By opening their doors and inviting the public to dozens of free events and performances, our arts organisations are making a significant contribution to the cultural tourism offering in Newry, Mourne and Down at a time when our economy needs it most.
“In just two years, Culture Night has become widely celebrated as an evening that all communities, visitors and people of all ages and backgrounds can participate in. The various partners involved have certainly taken huge steps forward from the inaugural event last year and Council is delighted to be a funding partner.
“Downpatrick Community Collective, have taken the lead for this year’s event and with the assistance of funding awarded through the Council’s Financial Assistance package have worked very closely with Down Arts Centre, Down Community Arts, Down County Museum, SERC and The Saint Patrick Centre to pull together the wonderful programme of events that are taking place this evening.
“The aim of the Downpatrick Culture Night committee was to deliver an evening of entertainment that would appeal to both young and old alike and to encourage and facilitate people to get involved and feel part of the event!
“I think everyone will agree this is has been achieved especially when we look round this evening and see the wonderful fancy dress costumes that are being worn.
“It is wonderful to see so many local artists and performers involved this evening and demonstrates just how artistically diverse the people of Downpatrick are.
“I hope that Downpatrick will continue to build on tonight’s success and I look forward to coming to future events”.