Celebrations under way as town marks 400 years

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A MAJOR programme of free community events to celebrate Portadown’s 400 year history was officially launched by Craigavon Borough Council in the town plaza with the help of local artists Tomas Finnegan and Jonny McKerr, Councillor Darryn Causby and Mayor of Craigavon, Carla Lockhart.

The series of large and small events will include art, music, dance and drama and will celebrate Portadown’s rich history and famous exports.

Portadown 400 kicked off with a public exhibition of ‘A Bed of Roses’, a unique art installation designed by local artists and youth groups using a variety of materials to create a life-size bed of roses which was on show at Portadown Plaza and the Town Hall.

The striking piece was the brainchild of local artists, Tomas Finnegan and Jonny McKerr, who held local workshops to create the installation which was inspired by the town’s famous McGredys Roses – a family from Portadown renowned for their rose breeding since 1895.

The early stage celebrations continued over the weekend at Portadown Town Hall with a vintage-style tea dance and live music from renowned Swingabella dance band, playing favourites from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The event was a great success with around 150 people attending. Guest enjoyed afternoon tea served in vintage china to create an authentic 1940’s setting and a photographer who was on hand to take and print photos of Valentines couples.

The event was such a success that the Town Hall has arranged another Tea Dance on Saturday 8th June as part of the Portadown 400 event calendar which will feature country star Curtis Magee.

Mayor of Craigavon, Carla Lockhart, said, “Portadown 400 is a fantastic opportunity for local residents and visitors alike to take a look back at the town’s exciting history; enjoy the present and look forward to the future of our community. With such a varied range of events that will include local story telling, art exhibitions, talks and tours, history fairs, and music events, there’s something for everyone.”

The Portadown 400 celebrations are being supported by a number of partner organisations including Portadown Chamber of Commerce, Translink, schools and members of the community who will work together to provide nine months of festivities. A brochure detailing the events will soon be available.

For further information about Portadown 400 events, contact Craigavon Borough Council, visit www.portadown400.org.uk, telephone 028 3831 2400 or email info@craigvon.gov.uk.