Hundreds of families descended on the fields of the Waterford Institute of Technology sports campus at Carriganore to fly a kite with “the kite doctor” Matthew Kennedy and Mick Mason, “the kite juggler”.
A parade of light also took place, with local choirs singing in celebration, as willow lanterns made by school children were paraded through historic parts of Waterford City.
In some countries this type of parade officially marks the declining light of the winter and in others, celebrates the light of the North Star.
Author John Banville, who writes crime novels under the pseudonym Benjamin Black, was honoured at the festival’s opening weekend as he was presented with the first Imagine Crime Writing Award. The award, in memory of Raymond Chandler, whose mother was born in Waterford, is in recognition of an Irish writer who has made an outstanding contribution to crime fiction.
The award was a specially-commissioned box set of Raymond Chandler novels, bound by Waterford book binder Tom Carroll. During the award presentation John Banville took to the stage to discuss his work with local broadcaster Nicola Beresford and answered questions from the audience at St Patrick’s Gateway Centre.
The John Dwyer Trad Weekend, in conjunction with the Imagine Arts Festival, took place at venues across the city, attracting musicians and dancers from all over the country.
Festival artistic director Ollie Breslin said a huge number of events were sold out over the weekend.
“We have seven days left of fantastic art, music, comedy, poetry, dance, theatre, history, and heritage events for everyone to enjoy. There’s something for all ages and tastes,” he said.
More than 100 events are on offer across the city until October 25, under the theme “Arts in Unexpected Places”.
Theatre includes The Staffroom at Central Arts, staged by Gasworks Theatre and written by Waterford playwright Jamie John Patrick Flynn; plus Da by Hugh Leonard by Ranting Rebels Theatre company at Garter Lane, and Pignut Theatre’s children’s production, Monsters n’ Things, at Central Arts.