In pictures: Crowds flock to ‘ecotastic’ carnival parade

Colourful and creative costumes were the order of the day for the Mayor's Carnival Parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Colourful and creative costumes were the order of the day for the Mayor's Carnival Parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Thousands of revellers enjoyed an ‘ecotastic’ time at the Mayor’s Carnival Parade & Family Fun Day in Lisburn on Saturday, May 20.

Despite the changeable weather - bright sunshine interspersed with heavy downpours and even hailstones - people’s spirits remained high, as parade participants and crowds of onlookers enjoyed the carnival atmosphere.

Spectators were whisked into the carnival spirit by a fanfare of sound and artistry. The street spectacle championing an eco-friendly ‘Ecotastic’ theme, featured specially commissioned towering sculptures and fantastical floats created by some of Ireland’s finest carnival acts.

Weaving its way through the city centre, the parade’s infectious Mardis Gras atmosphere was powered by the enthusiasm and energy of hundreds of schoolchildren, community groups and local businesses. Many showcased their new art, dance and percussion skills acquired through ISLAND Arts Centre’s carnival workshops programme, run in association with the award winning ArtsEkta and StreetWise.

Energetic, brightly clad dancers, sound systems and live music from vibrant samba and marching bands ensured the mood remained upbeat, even when the rain was falling.

The alfresco fiesta continued with a Family Fun Day finale in Wallace Park, which proved a great way to round off the city’s busiest and brightest carnival yet.

Cllr Brian Bloomfield, Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, and his wife Rosalind pictured during the Mayor's Carnival Parade and Family Fun Day 2017. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Cllr Brian Bloomfield, Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, and his wife Rosalind pictured during the Mayor's Carnival Parade and Family Fun Day 2017. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

The soundtrack to the afternoon party was provided by the Broken String Band and Los Dramaticos. Outdoor adventure enthusiasts loved the high-energy sporting arenas and fairground attractions, while pet lovers got the chance to check out some pampered pooches in the dog show. Little ones too, were mesmerised by gentle eco drama, ‘The Awongalema Tree’ and dedicated Kids’ Arts Zone.

A menagerie of wildlife bodies and environmental organisations availed of carnival’s ‘Ecotastic’ theme to raise public awareness about conservation issues. Local artists and artisans also demonstrated their ethical crafts.

Besides being one of the most lively events of the year, the Mayor’s Carnival Parade & Family Fun Day also served to raise funds for the Mayor’s charity, TinyLife - Northern Ireland’s premature and vulnerable baby charity.

Revellers who attended the carnival can share their experiences and memories of the day on Twitter using the hashtag #LisburnCarnival17.

To the beat of the drum: Stilt walkers on parade through Lisburn. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

To the beat of the drum: Stilt walkers on parade through Lisburn. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

• Check out more in this week’s Ulster Star - on sale May 25

Some of the young participants warming up for the Mayor's Carnival Parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Some of the young participants warming up for the Mayor's Carnival Parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

There were plenty of colourful costumes on display during the spectacular parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

There were plenty of colourful costumes on display during the spectacular parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Enjoying the family fun day in Wallace Park on Saturday afternoon. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Enjoying the family fun day in Wallace Park on Saturday afternoon. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Crowds line the street at Market Square to watch the 'Ecotastic' parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Crowds line the street at Market Square to watch the 'Ecotastic' parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Posing for a picture during the Mayor's Carnival Parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Posing for a picture during the Mayor's Carnival Parade. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Young parade participants were all smiles as they made their way through Lisburn city centre. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Young parade participants were all smiles as they made their way through Lisburn city centre. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia