Strabane has a new spring in its step

SPRING has most certainly sprung in Strabane this with a bright new look for Ambrose the Pig at the Alley Theatre and a new addition to brighten up the Strabane Community Allotments.

The endearing Willow Hare set up home at the allotments was created by local artist Brendan Farren as part of the North West Carnival Initiative's 'Imagine That' Spring programme funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The programme is offering a an array of artist led initiatives, online content including tutorials, and neighbourhood focused activity, in a departure from the regular St Patrick's Carnival celebrations.

Keep an eye out for a pot of gold beside the Alley Theatre as Strabane's iconic Ambrose the Pig has been transformed into a St Patrick's Day leprechaun, decked out all in green for the occasion.

Speaking of his creation, artist Brendan said: "I have been making baskets and weaving now for more than 15 years, having learned the art from Charlie Danny in Dooey North, Leitirmacaward, in western Donegal.

"I have facilitated a number of community projects and this project is a continuation of my ongoing collaboration with North West Carnival."

Ursula Doherty manager of the Strabane Community Project said she was delighted by the results of Brendan's work and looked forward to a growing partnership with North West Carnival.

The features are just some of the highlights of this year's alternative Spring Carnival Programme, which this year has been redesigned to include outdoor and online highlights to be enjoyed safely by all.

Look out also for creative installations and pop up displays adorning areas including Shipquay Street and several quiet spaces within the Walls of the city as well as quaint fairy dwellings in Kilfennan, St Columb's Park, Foyle Road, Brooke Park and the Fountain.

Council's festival and events manager Jacqueline Whoriskey explained a bit more.

"I'm delighted to see the Willow Hare now in its new home and I know children in Strabane will be thrilled to see Ambrose get a St Patrick's makeover," she said.

"This year our events have had a very different focus in line with the safety guidelines and we are all missing our usual cultural programme.

"But these outdoor highlights are there to put a smile on people's faces as they are out walking, and we hope they put a bit of colour back into our town and city centres.

"I am delighted that we could continue our work with the NW Carnival Initiative and provide a platform for local artists to showcase their work."

There will be a vast range of online content, including many events for Irish Language Week which is currently taking place and will finish on St Patrick's Day today (Wednesday).

These are just a few of the highlights. For more information on all the highlights of this year's programme go to:

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