Organisers of the hugely successful Dragon of Shandon event, which was suspended last year, have confirmed that the event is back, has been expanded and will be staged in the city’s famous Shandon quarter over three days at the end of October.
This follows the postponement of the event last year while event organisers, Cork Community Art Link. worked with local groups to restructure it into a new community festival.
“The 2012 parade was the biggest and best yet,” project manager Aoife Potter-Cogan said. “But it also saw a greater demand on our resources to facilitate the increased numbers of people participating.
“We are a small dedicated team, most of which are part-time, so we needed to find a way of providing more opportunities for people to get involved, to host their own events and ultimately make the project theirs.”
The festival was established in 2006 and has grown to become one of the country’s most successful Halloween events.
More than 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, Circus Factory, and numerous artists, will take part in this year’s event.
A circus big top, which will be erected in St Anne’s Park, will be the hub of the festival hosting a variety of activities for families by day, while a cabaret of banshees, live music and performances will take place at night.
There will be fire-performers, wall-running, lantern-making, food, workshops and local film shorts.
The Firkin Crane will host a Dance Spooktacular while ghost story-tellers unveil the more obscure history of Cork in Shandon Tower and the garden of the Butter Exchange will provide a family fun play space of traditional Samhain games.
The 36ft dragon will be the centrepiece of the Dragon of Shandon Parade.
“The Dragon of Shandon is unique to our city,” Ms Potter-Cogan said.
“It puts people at its core and is very much a community celebration, an urban street event which captures the spirit and imagination of people living here. Hundreds of people from all backgrounds and abilities benefit from the project, learning new skills, meeting new people and being part of a community but in order for it to happen we need the support of the city.”
The project is funded in part by Cork City Council, and supported by local and national grants, and several local businesses and individuals.
All monies raised go towards the facilitation of workshops, the provision of materials and the expertise to support local community groups, individuals and organisations participate in the project.
The event organisers are running a Fundit campaign to help keep the festival going.
“We understand as a community organisation that it has been a very tough time financially for people in Cork but want to stress that any and all support is greatly appreciated and all monies raised go directly towards the project, we also welcome support in kind such as the donation of materials and skills,” Ms Potter-Cogan said.