Funding secured for Hallowe’en Festival

The organisers of the Hallowe’en Festival planned for Athlone on October 31 have jubilantly received the news that they have secured almost €12,000 funding for their festival from the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Marie Reddin, chairperson of the Athlone RAPID Implementation Team, said “We are delighted to receive word of the success of our application for funding. The organising committee can now proceed with our plans for a fantastic festival.”

The programme of activities has yet to be fully finalised, but so far the plans include a ‘Thriller’-themed fancy dress parade starting at 6pm from the civic square in Athlone, then heading over the town bridge to St Peter’s Church and back to the civic square. The parade will be led by the Ravens Marching Band, with Attitude Dance Company also taking part, and Tonnta are making a few surprise 15ft puppets!

After the parade, a Monster Ball event will take place in the civic square, where live bands, a rap artist, and DJ Peter Casey will be entertaining the crowd. There will be a fancy dress competition and prizes for the scariest and funniest costumes, plus other spot prizes on the night. Light refreshments will be provided .

Organiser Michael Cunniffe explained that the purpose of the Hallowe’en Festival is to offer young people an alternative to bonfires. “Many parents are concerned about the dangers posed by bonfires and the anti-social behaviour that occurs around this time of year. By offering an alternative, parents and local communities can show young people that they can enjoy themselves in an alcohol-free and bonfire-free festival atmosphere.”

Additional funding for the festival has been pledged by Roscommon County Council and Athlone’s RAPID programme, while Westmeath Community Development Ltd has agreed to cover insurance costs and has made staff available to assist in the planning and organisation of the event. Linda-Jo Quinn from Westmeath Community Development would sincerely like to thank everyone for their hard work to date.

This project is a joint collaboration between Athlone Town Council and Roscommon County Council, and councillors from both sides of the Shannon have been involved in the committee to date.

Young people between the ages of 10 and 21 are being encouraged to start planning their ‘Thriller’ and Monster costumes. Anyone interested in the Hallowe’en workshops should contact Sandie Hughes of Tonnta at (090 ) 6476615.

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