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The first ever Wake the Giant Festival attracted many thousands of people to Warrenpoint at the weekend.

The two day event included street theatre, a variety of children’s entertainment, an artisan food market, a live music stage and culminated on Sunday at 3pm with a special show in Warrenpoint  Park which saw a 35 foot giant wake from his slumber and stand to address the waiting crowds.

Even the Celtic Music Project couldn't wake the Giant! Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Even the Celtic Music Project couldn't wake the Giant! Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Two school children from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council led the motley crew attempting to Wake the Giant and others including community groups Love Your Lough, , Newry Street Unite, Kilkeel, Warrenpoint Under 8’s and Celtic Rock music project joined in.

School storyboard competition winners Nine year old Tegan McKibben from St Patrick’s, Newry and Matthew Murphy from St Malachy’s, Castlewellan were successful in waking the giant after they simply asked the formidable giant to ‘Please Wake Up’.

All vantage points in Warrenpoint Park were taken. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
All vantage points in Warrenpoint Park were taken. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

 The children were part of 600 strong group pupils from schools in Downpatrick, Mayobridge, Castlewellan, Hilltown, Newry, Warrenpoint and Rostrevor and Dromintee who worked with writer Declan Carville to storyboard a magical adventure - based on the myth of a sleeping giant reposing on the Cooley Mountains. 

The whole event was coordinated and directed by a larger than life character - the Point Man - who entertained and encouraged the thousands of people who began pouring in to the Park from 1pm.

And Wake! - The Giant Awakes ...
And Wake! - The Giant Awakes ...

During the weekend, Marine Parade was transformed in to a live music hub with the sounds of James Peake Experience, Motown Sensation, the Logues, the Professionals, the Nooks, local band The Shout and culminated with a spectacular laser show at 10pm on Sunday evening.  

Chairperson Cllr Gillian Fitzpatrick said: “This is a huge event to develop and it been a fantastic weekend – Newry Mourne and Down District Council are delighted to bring this new Festival to Warrenpoint. 

The exposure for Wake the Giant Festival has put the region on the map as an event stage in a ‘gigantic’ way and drawn thousands of visitors across the two days

“It has given this stunning region a unique selling point - one which we intend to build upon annually to make Wake the Giant an unmissable summer Festival,” Gillian added. 

The last summer Festival from Newry Mourne and Down District Council is Footsteps in the Forest, Slieve Gullion which takes place on 26th and 27th August.  During the two day theatrical event, magical creatures from across the region will gather for their Annual General Magical meeting and interact with visitors as they explore the forest. To book visit www.visitmournemountains.co.uk or check Facebook for more details.

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