A giant fire-breathing dragon will wake from his year-long slumber tonight to terrify and thrill at a Halloween parade through Cork City.
Thousands of people are expected to line the streets on the city’s northside to watch the 36ft Dragon of Shandon — the centrepiece of the Dragon of Shandon Festival — mark the ancient feast of Samhain.
The parade, which will feature hundreds of performers dressed as ghosts, goblins and ghouls, will set off from the Butter Exchange in Shandon at 7pm, with road closures in place for the duration of the event.
The event will be the culmination of Cork Community Art Link’s expanded three-day Dragon of Shandon Festival.
Established in 2006, the parade was suspended last year while organisers made plans to expand it into a three-day festival.
Project manager Aoife Potter Cogan encouraged people to attend tonight’s festival highlight.
“This Dragon of Shandon is unique to our city,” she said.
“It puts people at its core and is very much a community celebration of our traditions — an urban street event which captures the spirit and imagination of people living in Cork.
“Hundreds of individuals of all backgrounds and abilities benefit from taking part in the project, learning new skills, meeting new people and being part of a creative community but it needs the support of the city to continue.”
Over 500 volunteers, groups and organisations including Cope Foundation, Enable Ireland, National Learning Network, Cathedral Cairde Youth Club, YWI Cork, Playground of Dreams, Cork Swing Dance Collective and Circus Factory have been involved in the festival.
A big top erected in St Anne’s Park acted as the festival hub, hosting a range of day-time and night-time circus events, live music gigs, lantern-making workshops, traditional Halloween games and local film shorts.
The Firkin Crane also hosted a Dance Spooktacular while ghost story-tellers chilled festival goers with the more obscure history of Cork.
To celebrate the launch of Artlink’s first Cork Horror Comic, Ambition Films created a unique trailer which is a dramatic interpretation of the comic book.
Meanwhile, Senior Help Line has asked people to remember their older neighbours tonight.
Bonfires, children trick-or-treating and loud bangs from fireworks can all contribute to making older people feel anxious and nervous in their own homes, Senior Help Line’s Anne Dempsey said.
“We would encourage people to consider inviting their elderly neighbours in for a few hours so that they are not alone this evening,” she said.
“Even telephoning to make sure they are safe and well could make the world of difference to people who may feel frightened.”
Older people who are worried or feeling lonely can call Senior Help Line on 1850 440 444 every day of the year from 10am to 10pm.
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