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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