There was a record attendance at the Winter Wonderland event which was postponed for 7 days due to flooding at Whin Park.

An estimated 2000 spectators braved heavy rain to attend the opening night show on Friday; 6000 attended on Saturday and 5500 attended on Sunday.

The feedback that we have received back suggests that this year's show was "the best yet". Big thank you to our creative wizards John Beaton and his team (Highland Council Lighting); Craig Duncan and his team (Limelight Event Services), Danielle Mackay (Mascot Madness) and Ruaraidh Milne (Fly Agaric)

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Review 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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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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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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Preview: Remembering Edith Cavell 
Edith Cavell, the British nurse who the gardens by the River Ness in which our city's War Memorial stands is named after, is to be remembered at an event in Inverness on 12th October 2015 - the 100th Anniversary of her execution during World War One.

Edith worked as a nurse in German-occupied Belgium where she helped save the lives of soldiers from both sides. She was shot by a German firing squad for helping allied soldiers to escape across the border into the Netherlands.

The daughter of a parson from the village of Swardeston in Norfolk; after becoming a nurse, Edith was invited to organise training in Belgium.

When the war broke out, she was at home in the safety of Norfolk but bravely insisted on returning to Europe. Historians have connected her Christian faith with her commitment to the nursing team and the college that she had set up in Belgium.

When she returned to mainland Europe, she became part of an informal group which smuggled 200 allied soldiers into the Netherlands, which was neutral, in order to save them from falling into the hands of the Germans.

After being betrayed and arrested in August 1915; she admitted her role and was tried for treason. Despite appeals for clemency from the US and Spain, she was shot on the morning of 12 October 1915, aged 49. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

She is well known for her statement that "patriotism is not enough" and her strong Anglican beliefs propelled her to help all those who needed it, both German and Allied soldiers.

She was quoted as saying, "I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved."

That she did not criticise those who condemned her or failed to help her when facing death has been lauded by historians as another instance of her courage.

Further information can be obtained from the Secretary Royal British Legion Scotland Inverness Branch on 07881815873

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