Winterval, the largest Christmas festival in Ireland, is to feature over 60 free and ticketed events across Waterford city as part of an exciting new programme for 2018. Launching its programme today (22 October), Winterval will run from 17 November to 23 December. For more information on Winterval, Ireland’s Christmas Capital, visit www.winterval.ie.

Attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, Waterford city will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland for the duration of Winterval. New attractions for 2018 include Enchanted Christmas, a brand-new Santa experience at the Old Postal Sorting Centre and the free 12 Days of Christmas attraction, taking place across Waterford city. Twelve events — from spoken word to street theatre — will run during the Festival, each representing a gift from the iconic Christmas song. Details of each event for 12 Days of Christmas will be revealed in advance on www.winterval.ie, Winterval’s social media platforms, and the Winterval app.

Newly appointed Winterval Festival Director, Tommie Ryan said: “We’re delighted to present the new jam-packed programme for the seventh annual Winterval festival. Along with new attractions, we welcome back some family favourites such as Winterval Illuminates, the Christmas light show on Cathedral Square.

“There will also be fantastic markets, selfie stations, the Winterval Express Train and Sleigh, and a 600sqm ice rink at the Waterside carpark with Winterval on Ice. To top it off, this year there is a wonderful new Christmas attraction by the award-winning Waterford street arts and spectacle company, Spraoi, at Wyse Park. Full details of what to expect from Spraoi will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Tommie added: “We have set out this year to acknowledge and celebrate what makes Christmas truly special — the creation of unforgettable memories with plenty of festive magic.”

The 2018 Winterval Festival kicks off on 17 November from 4pm with the arrival of Santa and International Rose of Tralee, Kirsten Mate Maher, at John Roberts Square for the turning on of the city’s lights at 5pm.

Other highlights include the return of the Waterford Eye, the iconic Big Wheel on Merchants Quay. A VIP experience on the attraction is available, which includes warm blankets, chocolates and prosecco, or non-alcoholic fizz for children’s groups.

A giant post box for Santa letters, situated at The Applemarket, will see free special performances from the Waterford Academy of Music and Arts every Saturday and Sunday afternoon during the festival.

Other performances include Handel’s Messiah, performed by the City of Dublin Chamber Orchestra and the Notable Works Chorus at St John’s Church on 2 December; a free Lions Club Christmas Carol Service at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on 15 December, and two special concerts at City Hall on 17 November and 17 December.

For charities, Waterford Rotary Club Memorial Christmas Tree Appeal will support Waterford Hospice on John Roberts Square. At the Cartamundi Giving Tree at Georges Court Shopping Centre, for every homemade decoration hung, a donation of a toy to the St Vincent de Paul will be made by Cartamundi, the leading Waterford-based games manufacturer.

Tommie added: “Every year, sponsors, stakeholders, local businesses, volunteers and the general public rally behind Winterval, to make this magical festival possible. Through their support, they have made Winterval the leading Christmas festival in Ireland.”

For full details, visit www.winterval.ie or see:

Facebook: @WintervalWaterford

Twitter: @Winterval_WAT

Instagram: @winterval_waterford

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