PICS: Spraoi gets sprayed but 10,000 still turn out for parade in Waterford

Monkeys, orangutans, gorillas… It wasn’t hard to spot the theme of Sunday night’s Spraoi parade through the streets of Waterford as the throngs lined the route for this year’s offering.

There were more than a few glances to the skies as the late hours unfolded and, after a weekend in which the organisers, performers, and patrons dodged more than a few weather bullets, the rain arrived with a vengeance just in time for the 9.30pm start to the parade. Still, up to 10,000 people emerged from under shelter to watch the parade — the numbers were down on previous years when the weather wasn’t so brutal.

“Conditions were exceptional,” Spraoi director TV Honan put it afterwards, “but the notion that 8,000 to 10,000 people turned out to see an arts performance in the rain was heartening.”

The theme of this year’s Spraoi parade was ‘The Origin of the Species’, and this float certainly lives up to that idea.

A “wild and fun-filled night in Waterford” had been promised by organisers and that’s what was duly delivered, all on the subject of ‘The Origin of the Species’, celebrating our closest relatives in the animal world and Charles Darwin’s work on our evolution.

A ‘wild and fun-filled night in Waterford’ had been promised, and people certainly weren’t disappointed.

From the start-point at Johns-town Industrial Estate, the colourful little and large who made up the parade traced their way through John St, Michael St, and Broad St, into John Roberts Square and Barronstrand St, before finishing on The Quay.

The Iseq float was one of the more unique entrants in the Spraoi parade on Sunday night.

There, as has become the tradition on the closing night of the Spraoi festival, the largest crowds gathered for the finale that was the fireworks display, visible from all points along The Quay and the surrounding areas — despite the torrents falling from the skies.

The parade ended with a fireworks display that could be seen from all around, despite the deluge.

It all blended nicely with the musical acts performing at various venues throughout the city centre as this year’s Spraoi came to a lively end, following a weekend of varying activities aimed at all ages and tastes.

“Thankfully, the weather was largely kind to the south-east,” Mr Honan reflected.

“We had 250 shows, individual performances and events, and we only lost two to the weather.”

One of the many success stories of Spraoi 2015 was the Teenage Kicks slot for emerging and new bands, on the Dennis Sheehan stage — named after the U2 tour manager from Dungarvan who died earlier this year. “It’s good for the festival to be involved in encouraging young talent,” Mr Honan said.

The King Kong Cast float, which snaked its way around the city before finishing up at The Quay, where the largest crowds had gathered.

Performers from ten countries took part over the three days in various shows and gave “tremendous feedback” to the organisers. “They’ve had a fantastic experience of Spraoi and of Waterford.”


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