The Isle of Man is to start celebrating the ‘Island of Culture 2014’ in just a few days’ time.
Celebrations to mark its launch will see a number of events take place from Saturday, January 4, until Monday.
The public launch will be held in the Villa Marina Arcade from 1.30pm-6.30pm on Saturday next week, with information about events during the year ahead, competitions to win tickets to Island of Culture events, and featuring pottery demonstrations from Matt Owen, a member of the ‘Creative Network’, and live music – both Manx and pop covers – from Shoh Slaynt.
At 7pm the same day, Michael Heritage Trust will stage its annual performance of Oie’ll Verree, an evening of Manx dialect performance, music, poetry and drama. Tickets are available from James Kennaugh on 878342.
On Sunday next week, Peel Commissioners and Vikings of Mann will be stepping back in time with a torchlight precession and lighting of a bonfire on Peel beach.
Starting at 5pm, this will celebrate the start of the year and the old Manx Christmas Eve. There will also be a short firework display.
There will be spare torches for adults to hold (subject to numbers) and children are welcome to bring along their own battery-powered torches. The procession will assemble by 4.45pm at The Mill Yard (behind Moore’s Kipper Yard), and the procession will proceed along East Quay to Peel Beach. The parade will go ahead whatever the weather, so wrap up warmly. For more information please visit www.peelonline.net or the Vikings of Mann official Facebook page.
Then, Monday will see the launch of an exhibition in the Villa Marina showcasing the Island of Culture stamps. Designed by Manx artist Juan Moore and produced by Isle of Man Post Office, these will be available for public viewing for about three weeks.
Invited guests will be entertained by Otto Boys’ Choir from Ballakermeen High School.
Island of Culture director Michael Lees said: ‘Island of Culture 2014 will be a wonderful celebration for everyone in the island and the launch events will showcase highlights of what is sure to be an exciting year.
‘Spread over 12 months, it will celebrate the large and varied artistic and cultural life we enjoy. Twenty-fourteen will give everyone in the Isle of Man a chance to be part of our rich cultural life and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.’