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Lord Mayor Invites Belfast to 'Look Up' For Carnival Fun

Belfast's Lord Mayor, Councillor Naomi Long, is inviting the people of the city to 'Look Up' at the stars.

The Belfast City Carnival will help celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, when one of the highlights of the city`s cultural calendar takes to the streets on Saturday 27 June.

The carnival officially introduces the new Lord Mayor to the people of Belfast. Giant floats, big stilt-costumes and hundreds of performers will parade through the city centre, as participants and onlookers alike explore the stars and the universe.

"Over the past few years, the Belfast City Carnival has changed and evolved, and has become a cornerstone of our cultural calendar," commented Councillor Long, who was elected Lord Mayor on 1 June.

"At a time when central government is cutting back on its support for such events, Belfast City Council remains totally committed to supporting cultural activity in all four corners of the city. Last year, we invested £1.6 million in culture and arts groups, from grassroots level up, not counting the substantial investment we are making, on an ongoing basis, in the continued development of the city's cultural infrastructure."

BEAT, Belfast's carnival company, is working with artists and community groups from all across the city to bring the streets alive with colour and sound on Carnival day.

David Boyd, of BEAT, promised that the Carnival would be bigger, better, brighter and noisier than any procession seen in Belfast before - a wondrous feast of colour and sound.

"This year, to mark 2009 as International Year of Astronomy, we have taken the space theme to 'Look Up' and explore the stars. We also are looking to the future, as we will continue the theme into next year, looking harder at the local space that we all share and the variety of life and energy found here."

This year's carnival procession will follow a new route through the heart of Belfast.

The carnival will leave Custom House Square, at 1.30pm and move along High Street and Bridge Street in lower Donegall Street, from where it will go along Royal Avenue and Donegall Place to front the City Hall.

It then will head around the back of the City Hall into Howard Street, Upper Queen Street and Wellington Place, before finishing in the City Hall grounds at around 3pm.

The grounds will be transformed into the BT1 Zone for the day, with music and entertainment getting the party going from 12 noon.

At 4.30pm, the Carnival Supergroup will be showcasing new rhythms and sounds on the City Hall music stage, where the best of local musical entertainment will be provided by Love Music Hate Racism and Homely Planet Radio Station.

The Belfast City Carnival is organised by Belfast City Council, with artistic direction being provided by BEAT. The Belfast City Carnival is funded by Belfast City Council, the Arts Council pf Northern Ireland, Arts Lottery, the Department for Social Development and the European Regional Development Fund under the Peace III Programme.


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