WEST Belfast is bracing itself for two weeks of festivities as Féile an Phobail makes a welcome return.

Altan opened proceedings on Tuesday at Clonard Monastery, but the annual Féile kicks off in style this weekend with events throughout West Belfast – and further afield. With music, comedy, theatre, visual arts, debates and talks, sport and family fun days, there really is something for everyone.

On Sunday the Falls Road will be awash with colour as community groups, sporting organisations and members of the public gather at Dunville Park to take part in the big Féile carnival parade, with this year’s theme ‘Rights and Revelry’.

Speaking ahead of the carnival, Féile’s Youth Arts project worker Conall Mac Corraidh, said: “We are hoping to see upwards of 6,000 people at the carnival.

“We are meeting in Dunville Park at half twelve and will leave for Party in the Park shorty afterwards which will be taking place from 2-5pm. There will be archery, inflatables, falconry, a petting farm, street performers, food vendors, a climbing tower and much more.”

Festival-goers can also expect a live music concert in the park featuring local and international artists.

“We would really love for people to get behind the carnival parade and get into the spirit of things,” said Conall. “There are cash prizes this year, there’s £300 for the best dressed community group; £300 for best attended sporting group; £300 for best community float and £50 for the best dressed individual. There will also be free ticket spot prizes too.

“Registration is essential, so we would love to see as many people there as possible.

“We are expecting at least 30 different community groups so the competition will be close for the best dressed prize.

“Belfast Pride will be supporting us this year and we will be supporting them as well, it’ wonderful to see that kind of solidarity.

“At this year’s carnival parade we want to highlight the campaigns that have been running throughout the year – campaigns such as marriage equality and the Irish Language Act. We will be holding several events throughout Féile around these issues.”

John Jones, Centre Manager of the Kennedy Centre, said: “We at the Kennedy Centre are delighted to be one of the partners of this year's Féile Carnival Parade.

“Féile an Phobail is a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on all that is great and good about West Belfast and we thoroughly support that, not just during the August Féile but throughout the year."

To enter a group into this year’s Féile Rights & Revelry Carnival Parade contact conall@feilebelfast.com or Tel: 02895 609984.