The number of ‘sleeps’ to the official opening of the 10th annual Winterval festival is limited, and with just 1 sleep to go until the festival opens in Waterford on November 18th the city is buzzing with excitement, twinkling lights and anticipation.
At precisely 5.15 pm on Friday (November 18th) the country’s first Christmas Parade will swing into the City with all the bells and whistles of the festive season.
Santa Claus himself will be seated in the middle of a gigantic bauble as he leads the parade from the clock Tower travelling up through Barronstrand Street and John Roberts Square, continuing through Broad Street and finishing at the top of Michael Street at 5:45pm.
The parade will feature some of the wonderful delights of the festival including the Gerbola Christmas Circus, the cast of Waterford Panto’s ‘Jack & The Beanstalk’, the new Winterval Mini Express Train, visitors from The North Pole, some of the big man’s naughtiest elves and even Mrs Claus.
Santa will then join in the singing and dancing on the main stage before he joins the Mayor of Waterford Cllr. John O’Leary, and illuminate Winterval by turning on the Christmas lights in Waterford City.
Once the lights of Winterval are switched on the City will be transformed into a land of magical festive entertainment with the opening of the City Fairground and Winterval on Ice, the first Christmas Circus show will take place at 6:30 pm on New Street, the first Winterval Illuminates light shows in its new location of Arundel Square from 7 pm, and the main stage at the Winterval Food & Craft Market on O’Connell Street plays in until 10 pm. The entertainment then continues on into the wee hours across Waterford’s busy bars and restaurants right around the city.
The full programme of events is on offer until December 23rd. Highlights include the vintage Ferris wheel at Arundel Square, a vintage carousel, the Port of Waterford Eye, the Winterval Mini Express train, a virtual ride in Santa’s sleigh plus a Wizards and Dragons interactive exhibition and even Santa Paws for doggies and Waterford’s heritage takes a prime position with Déise Medieval will host a traditional Viking Settlement.Following his opening of the festival Santa will be taking centre stage at the festival in the heart of the city on Broad Street at Santa’s Central Station where he will be meeting and greeting boys and girls for the entire festival.
In addition, there is an abundant programme of Music and Theatre. Ben Hennessy will present a new Shadow Puppetry Show at the beautiful GLOW Gardens at Winterval on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Shadow play, also known as shadow puppetry, is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat cut-out figures that are held between a source of light and a translucent screen.
At the Apple Market each weekend a free show sponsored by WAMA & Theatrebox, which will engage with young spectators who can take part in the collection of Santa’s posts will be on offer. Let the little elves and helpers from the WAMA (Waterford Academy of Music & Arts) and TheatreBox as they collect your special lists and drive them off to the North Pole. The post box will snow, breathe smoke, blare music & magical sound effects, and it will illuminate the mirrored ceiling of the Apple Market.
Join Winterval’s Resident Storyteller Kitty Caboodle for a selection of songs and stories. Her repertoire mixes classic fairy tales, folktales, myths, legends, songs and tunes to entertain all ages. This event will be on offer at The Book Centre, John Roberts Square, Waterford every Saturday and Sunday from the 26th of November at 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. This is a Free event. Booking is not Required
The Winterval Live Stage will offer 20 Days of Live Performances during the festival. Visitors can kick back to the live musicians, bands, comedians, magicians, and performance ensembles on The Winterval Main Stage on O’Connell Street, in the heart of the Winterval Market. Highlights include music from Deise Brass, High Hopes Choir, comedy from Totally Wired, magic and street performance from Jack Wise and many more. Each festival weekend from 12 pm to 8 pm. Admission to this event is free
House of Waterford Crystal is delighted to present its Annual Winter Music Series which will begin on Saturday 19th November and will run every Saturday & Sunday until the 18th of December.
The full Winterval Festival programme is available to view and book online at www.winterval.ie