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Borough to stage huge one-off ‘Stars & Stripes’ Independence Day spectacular

A massive celebration of ‘all things American’ will be hosted in the borough to mark Independence Day.

The recently re-opened People’s Park in Portadown will be the venue for this huge event, to take place on Saturday, July 2.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is drawing up plans for the big day, which is being billed as a ‘Stars & Stripes Extravaganza’.

A recommendation for funding is going before the council’s economic development and regeneration committee tonight (Tuesday).

The one-off event is due to get underway at noon and the emphasis is on cross-community and family-focussed, with activities designed for all ages.

Americans may celebrate their national holiday on the Fourth of July, but this is being held on the Saturday beforehand – July 2 – to encourage and allow as many as possible to come out and enjoy all it has to offer.

But there will be no mistaking this is for Independence Day.

The People’s Park – which reopened last year after a £5.5 million investment – will be fully decorated in American flags and bunting for the big occasion.

There will be themed crafts, with visitors able to try their hand at decorating American flags, making pom-poms and dollars bills, among other things.

The public can also experience American sport and activity taster sessions – including American football, baseball and rollerskating.

Themed food providers will be peddling their wares so again you can expect a rich menu of all things USA – hot dogs, chicken wings, cookies, popsicles and much, much more! Expect plenty of picnic baskets decorated in the United States flag too!

American-themed music will also keep the crowds entertained in the amphitheatre, so expect traditional country, bluegrass and hip-hop high on the playlist.

Mingling with the crowds will be American-themed performers such as cheerleaders, baseball players and even a living statue performer in the guise of the Statue of Liberty. There will be American superheroes and Disney princesses.

A good old fashioned photobooth with an Independence Day theme will capture precious memories.

What big day out would be complete without a fun fair? Again you’ll not be disappointed, with a carousel ride, ferris wheel and side shows, including a good old-fashioned coconut shy.

Americans love their football and this day will be no different.

All activities will lead up to the ‘Big Game’.

Our very own Craigavon Cowboys will play another American football team.

And this will be a very authentic American football game experience, with all associated sights and acitivities, including cheerleaders and even a half-time musical performance!

Council is being asked to approve the expenditure of £20,000 to stage this celebration, a cash payment which would come from its events budget.

The borough will also again be taking part in the Independents Day initiative, to support the ‘shop local’ message of our independent retailers.

This would be a further £20,000 expenditure – recommended for approval tonight – to participate.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association is leading this as part of a regional campaign with a launch date of mid-June.

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