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Belfast prepares to mark four centuries of history with Easter weeekend festival

19 March 2013

Belfast City Council is preparing to mark the lead up to the 400th anniversary of the granting of the city’s first Royal charter, by King James I in April 1613, with a weekend of fun-filled activities for all the family.

Belfast 400 Easter Festival

The programme, based around the City Hall, will take place over the Easter weekend, from Saturday March 30th through Tuesday April 2nd inclusive.

Launching the new ‘Belfast 400’ programme, Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson commented:

“This is another truly landmark year for our city, marking as it does the moment in history when the then relatively small town of Belfast was granted many of the rights which, over the last four centuries, have helped to shape the modern city we know today.

“The King James Charter granted Belfast the right to form a corporation, the forerunner of the modern Belfast City Council, and to a appoint a ‘sovereign’ – the post now known as Lord Mayor – as well as many other rights, including the right to hold markets.

“It is important that, when we mark the anniversary of the granting of the Charter, we do so in an inclusive manner and for all the people of Belfast to enjoy, and in a way which looks to our continued and future development as well as those we have enjoyed in the past.”

Over the course of the weekend, there will be a series of events taking place in and around the City Hall, including:

• a photographic exhibition, taking ‘A Journey Through Time’ to depict Belfast’s rich history over the last 400 years;
• face painting, craft workshops and caricature drawings;
• a chaotic Mad Hatter’s Tea Party;
• street theatre, including walkabouts and shows;
• the ever-popular ‘Nearly True’ tours;
• a series of talks on 400 years of Belfast’s story;
• a collection of films, animations and related workshops;
• live music and dance;
• vintage car displays;
• a ‘fashion through the ages’ display by students from Belfast Metropolitan College; and
• a ‘Belfast Times’ modern art exhibition.

Marking 400 years of Belfast would not be complete without the inclusion of ‘Titanic’, and so top auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son once again will be returning with their world-famous display of White Star Line and Titanic-related artefacts and memorabilia – including band leader Wallace Hartley’s violin.

All of the above events take place at the City Hall between 11am and 5pm daily.

In addition, there will be specially-themed evening tours of City Hall, as well as archaeological and architectural walking tours of the city centre, and special editions of the acclaimed Belfast Music and John Hewitt bus tours.

A complementary programme of activity will also take place at the Ulster Hall, including tea dances, film screenings, guided tours, breakfast mornings, ‘Literary Belfast’ themed events, reminiscence sessions, singalongs and more. There also will be a series of family events at St George’s Market on Easter Saturday.

For full information on all ‘Belfast 400’ events, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/events.

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