THE result of six years hard work will come to fruition tomorrow (Thursday) morning as the ribbon is cut at Belfast’s first Folktown Market.

The market is the latest phase in the ongoing drive to regenerate the long-neglected western gateway to the city that comprises Castle Street, King Street and the lanes near the Berry Street entrance to the CastleCourt shopping centre.

With the focus firmly on the local, over 30 artisan producers and manufacturers will set out their stalls in Bank Square, the rejuvenated open space that boasts the historic Kelly’s Cellars and the gourmet restaurant Mourne Seafood.

Over 30 vendors from across the north will offer to city centre shoppers delicious food, drinks and handmade art and crafts, while a section of the market will also be set aside as a music space where the city’s buskers will provide a live Folktown soundtrack.

The group behind the campaign to develop Belfast’s newest quarter, the Folktown Community Interest Company (CIC), believe the market will bring new life to a part of the city which has been ignored for decades.

“This market will help to connect all areas of the city and help to breathe vitality and vibrancy into this space,” said CIC Director Joby Fox. “Bank Square is a part of Belfast that many people haven’t been to and some weren’t even aware it existed. We are really looking forward to Thursday when the market will be open from early until 8pm to welcome in late-night shoppers.”

Jobie’s CIC colleague, Sophie Rasmussen, spoke of how the hard work of recent years in bringing Folktown to life is beginning to pay off.

“We are delighted to give this market to the city,” she said. “We envisage that the market will be a permanent fixture and we hope that it will go from strength to strength.”