Christmas Lights Switch On 

The 2015 Christmas Lights Switch On saw a wonderful crowd gather in Inverness City Centre to see Provost Helen Carmichael and Santa lead over 5000 marchers through the streets of the Highland Capital to turn on the Christmas Lights.

After gathering at Crown Primary School and enjoying a wonderful performance of "Amazing Grace" by members of the Stagecoach Theatre School; the marchers lit their torches (which they had purchased to raise much needed funds for the Inverness Womens' Refuge) and headed off down Stephens Brae to rousing cheers.

Hosted by Nicola McAlley of STV, the Parade featured 3 Giant Snowmen, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Tigger and the most excited Minion that anyone has ever seen and Nessie, the splendid new Jacobite Cruises mascot who was appearing for the first time anywhere.

After passing through the High Street, the parade went down Church Street, where Arts in Motion had illuminated Abertaff House especially for the occasion. The evening ended with a hugely enjoyable Carol Service in the Old High Church which was enjoyed by all.

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The Inverness WInter Festival opened in record breaking fashion at the weekend with attendances at the Highland Council's free Halloween Show on Ness Islands more than doubling in size before a bumper crowd turned out to enjoy our bonfire and fireworks display in Bught Park.

The previous record for the Halloween weekend of 12,000 was smashed on the first night when 18104 spectators arrived to see the show which was based on the famous Halloween short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving; and the following night 8028 enjoyed the show.

The shows 1300m circuit around Ness Islands was transformed by projections and illuminations amongst the trees by Arts in Motion, Limelights and the Highland Council's Lighting Department; and provided the perfect backdrop for the largest cast assembled in the history of the show. Eden Court Creative had brought together 180 young performers from across the Highlands to bring to life the Headless Horseman and the villagers who were trying to avoid him; and the delight in the faces of the spectators was plain for all to see.

Behind the scenes, the unexpectedly large turn out on Friday evening combined with busy nights at Inverness Leisure Centre and Inverness Ice Rink to use up all the available parking spaces and temporarily brought traffic to a halt.

Thankfully the Council's Events Team were able to get get traffic moving again by opening an exit road through the Western Bypass building site; and the patience and understanding of the drivers and passengers on the night was much appreciated.

The following Thursday, an estimated 18,000 turned out to enjoy a spectacular bonfire and fireworks display.

A huge thank you to everybody who has supported our events in what has to be the best 7 days since Inverness Festivals started!

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Looking ahead - Diary Dates 
Welcome to the Inverness Festivals News Page

First of all thanks for all the wonderful messages of support which you sent in following the Kirking of the Council.

Below you will find our updated list of events; and don't forget to visit our Events Listings Page where you will find the latest details in the What's On Section which is edited and updated every day by our friends at the Inverness City Advertiser.

Major Events Programme
3-4 April Inverness BID Easter Egg Hunt
22-24 April Celtic Media Festival
9 May Inverness Classic Vehicle Show
30 May Scottish Cup Final (Glasgow)
27 June Riverside Party
4 July Armed Forces Day
5 July Highlands Strongest Man
18-19 July Inverness Gala
18 Inverness Highland Games
18 Clan Village
18-19 Bubble Football
18-19 Horne's Funfair
18-19 Craft Fair
19 Bught Park Orienteering
19 Forge Gym Combat Tent
19 MFR Walk of Courage
19 July Inverness Harriers 10K
19 July Highlander Challenge
19 Highlands Strongest Women
31 July - 7 August World Orienteering Championships
11-13 Sep Highland Military Tattoo
13 Sep Kirking of the Council
12 Oct Edith Cavell Ceremony
15 Oct Freedom of the Highlands Parade
15-17 Oct BID Street Theatre Festival
30-31 Oct Halloween Show

5 Nov Civic Bonfire and Fireworks
11 Nov Remembrance Day 11am Ceremony
22 Nov Christmas Lights Switch On
11-13 Dec Winter Wonderland
31 Dec Red Hot Highland Fling

24-25 Mar Inverness BID Easter Egg Hunt
7 May Inverness Classic Vehicle Show
18 June Rod Stewart Concert (ICTFC)
7-10 July Aberdeen Asset Scottish Open Golf
16 July Inverness Highland Games & Gala
17 July Inverness Harriers 10K
11 Sept Kirking of the Council
13-15 Oct BID Street Theatre Festival
28-29 Oct Halloween Show
5 Nov Civic Bonfire & Fireworks
20 Nov Christmas Lights Switch On
9-11 Dec Winter Wonderland
31 Dec Red Hot Highland Fling

For further information please contact:
The Inverness Festivals Team
c/o Gerry Reynolds (Inverness Events Manager) 01463 785006

NEWFLASH - Have a look at this wonderful video which has been produced by the City Marketing Group. Nice job folks - we love it!

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Inverness Highland Games Community Heroes Honoured

The dedication of two of the North of Scotland’s most popular Highland Games stalwarts will be recognised at a special ceremony to be held at Inverness Town House on Friday evening (October 16th) when Games Chieftain Provost Helen Carmichael inducts the first two members into the newly established Inverness Highland Games Hall of Fame.

Inverness Highland Games Committee Chairman Angus Dick said “With over 90 years of involvement with numerous Games around the Highlands between them; the induction of our Scorer Ian Tasker and our Commentator Colin Baillie into our Hall of Fame is richly deserved; and it enables us to thank them for their much appreciated contribution.

Without the support of community members like Ian and Colin, it would be impossible for many Games to continue, and we are grateful to the Provost and the Council for their help in honouring them.

In future years we are planning to announce the inductees at the opening ceremony of our Games; and as part of the preparations for the celebrations for the bi-centenary of our Games in 2022; we are now looking back through the archives to discover more about those who made a major contribution in the past and should be considered for inclusion. “

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Thursday 8 October 2015
Inverness Winter Festival programme announced
The Highland Council has announced details of the line-up for this year’s Inverness Winter Festival which will start next week with the Inverness BID Street Theatre Festival and climax with Scotland’s biggest free Hogmanay, The Red Hot Highland Fling.
Inverness BID Street Theatre Festival runs from Thursday 15 October to Saturday 17 October and will feature international award winning clown Fraser Hooper; Duke Loopin’s Whip-cracking Wild West show; circus tricks from The Jerome Show; giant lovable rascal Big Rory and his dog Ochie; spectacular shopping trolley dance routines from Granny Tourismo; stunts from Figo; escapology from Todd Various and “Gnomes in the City” presented by Eden Court Creative.
The opening day of the Street Theatre Festival will end with The Royal Regiment of Scotland parading through the streets of Inverness at 3pm to Northern Meeting Park where they will be awarded the Freedom of the Highland region.
Following the Inverness Street Theatre Festival, the Winter Festival will see one of the largest fancy dress events staged in the Scotland as Ness Islands plays host to the city’s annual Halloween Show on 30 and 31 October.
Since the event was first staged in 2009, the Ness Islands children’s show has not only inspired hundreds of families to dress up each year in order to help scare away an annual invasion of ghosts, beasties and unmentionables; it has also been adopted by the city’s revellers as the perfect excuse to create a spectacular Halloween carnival in the pubs, clubs and streets of the Highland capital. The show features scenes from the cinema and television adaptations of the Halloween short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and surprises are expected around every corner as the projection skills of Arts in Motion and the performing skills of Eden Court Creative bring the terrifying Headless Horseman to life. The show runs from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on 30 and 31 October.
On Thursday 5 November another large crowd is expected to gather in Bught Park when the spectacular 2015 City of Inverness Grand Bonfire and Fireworks Display is staged. Horne’s Funfair will open at 5pm; and the bonfire will be lit at 7.30pm following the judging of the annual Guy Making Competition which is contested by children from local primary schools. A 20 minute musical fireworks display will be staged by the award winning display team from Fireworx Scotland who will be including a number of new fireworks which have never been seen in the Highlands before.
The countdown to Christmas gets underway on Sunday 22 November when Santa Claus arrives in town to help Provost Helen Carmichael to turn on the Christmas lights at 6pm. Due to the building work which is taking place outside of Inverness Town House the Switch On Ceremony will feature a Christmas Parade down Inverness High Street which will leave Crown Primary School at 5.45pm. Spectators will be invited to assemble at Crown Primary and join Santa and his Giant Snowmen in the Parade, which will pause in the High Street for the Countdown before escorting the Provost through the streets to the Old High Church for the traditional Children’s Christmas Carol Concert “Ding Dong Merrily Old High” which starts at 6.30pm.
The Winter Wonderland event will take place over the weekend of Friday 11 to Sunday 13 December and will provide an opportunity for children to meet Santa and his Reindeer in a beautifully illuminated Whin Park. The Winter Wonderland show is hugely popular with the youngest members of the Inverness community; and is one of the highlights of the Winter Festival for toddlers. The event will see the return of the giant inflatable ‘Walk on Water’ balls on the Whin Park Boating Lake.
Bringing the winter festival to a close will be Scotland’s largest free Hogmanay concert The Red Hot Highland Fling which will take place in Northern Meeting Park Arena on 31 December.
Comedian Craig Hill will host the four hour show introducing headliners Capercaillie who will be joined by two former winners of the Scottish Trad Music Live Band of the Year Award Breabach and Skerryvore.
Capercaillie features the peerless voice of co-founder Karen Matheson who is universally recognised as one of the finest Gaelic singers alive today; and the band are really excited about performing at their first Red Highland Fling as band member Charlie McKerron confirmed. "We are really looking forward to seeing the crowd jigging and reeling along to our set for ourselves because we have heard so much about the great party you have up there.”
Provost Helen Carmichael said: “Once again Inverness has an excellent Winter Festival programme to look forward to and I am sure that everyone in our City will find something to enjoy. From the Street Theatre Festival onwards there is a wide range of exciting events to brighten up our City as winter draws in, culminating in a Hogmanay celebration with an exceptionally strong line-up of Scottish bands to bring the year to a close. As well as being enjoyed by local residents, our Winter Festival helps draws numerous additional visitors to our city and continues to give our economy and our city’s profile a significant boost.”

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Review 2015 Kirking of the Council 

Provost Helen Carmichael led a colourful parade through the sunny streets of Inverness to the 2015 Kirking of the Council which was held at the Old High Church. The service conducted by the Reverend Peter Nimmo was focused upon the the theme of volunteering and was enjoyed by all. We will be adding some great pictures of the Kirking in our Gallery in the days ahead and as usual if you have taken any photographs we would love to see them!

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