Film screenings new addition to Whitehead Victorian Fair

Victorian ladies Ruth Clarke and Elsie French at the 2013 fair. INCT 48-410-RM
Victorian ladies Ruth Clarke and Elsie French at the 2013 fair. INCT 48-410-RM

Visitors to Whitehead will get the chance to take a trip back in time as the massively successful Victorian Street Fair returns next weekend.

The annual event, now in its seventh year, will see a number of new additions to the programme.

In keeping with the vintage theme, old footage of the seaside town will be screened by Dr Mary Bradley at the Library and the Presbyterian Church.

Local artist Steve Diamond will deliver two educational talks at the venues: ‘Inside Victorian Whitehead’ and ‘Ghosts of the Great War’.

Meanwhile, festival organisers Whitehead Community Association have decided to begin the festivities an hour earlier to allow people to experience the full range of entertainments dotted around the town.

Following the success of last year’s attractions, the event will feature five fairground entertainments.

The centrepiece will be the stunning 36-foot fairground carousel, provided by Curry’s Amusements.

Wireless Mystery Theatre will be back to perform an adaptation of legendary Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Church of Ireland.

This year will see the return of Drumlough Pipe Band, storyteller Billy Teare and entertainer Kathleen O’Sullivan in the brand new entertainment tent.

Fire jugglers and fire dancers will gather at the Old Tea House, while the Bank House will host a blacksmith’s forge.

For those yearning for a taste of yesteryear, there will be horse and buggy rides, antique cars, and the steam train rides at the Railway Preservation Society Ireland site.

The fair will also feature a Grand Tombola, organised by the Rotary Club of Carrickfergus and with proceeds going to Whitehead Community Association.

Adding to the festive atmosphere will be seasonal sounds from the genuine Victorian street organ.

For kids, there will be Santa’s Grotto, along with a host of entertainment at the Genesis Centre and the Bank House with clowns, puppet shows, Punch and Judy and magical extravaganzas.

The day will be topped off with the traditional carol service, lantern parade, switching on of the Christmas Tree lights and a spectacular fireworks display, weather permitting.

Whitehead Community Association chair, Jeremy Jones, thanked the local community who ‘rallied round’ to help organise the event.

“We couldn’t do it without the help of our local groups, churches, voluntary organisations and businesses,” he said. “Not only has the response from businesses and organisations been overwhelming – we have also managed to attract major sponsorship and funding from Translink and Mid and East Antrim Council.”