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Celebrations begin for Portadown’s 400th birthday!

FEBRUARY 14 is not just a day for traditional romantics, it’s also a day which will celebrate all there is to love about Portadown, as Craigavon Borough Council launches Portadown 400, a major programme of community events which will officially celebrate the town’s 400-year history.

The exciting event schedule, which will be entirely free, will kick 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.

The stunning community art project will be on show at Portadown Plaza on February 14 and 15 and at the Town Hall on February 16.

The early stage celebrations will continue at Portadown Town Hall on Saturday, February 16, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, with a vintage-style tea dance and live music from renowned Swingabella dance band, playing favourites from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The event will also include afternoon tea served in vintage china to create an authentic 1940s setting, while a photographer will be on hand to take and print photos of Valentine’s couples.

The Tea Dance will celebrate the 40s and 50s and will also remember the American GIs, who were stationed in Portadown during the Second World War. Tickets are free and subject to availability so, to reserve your place, call 3833 5264 or call into the Town Hall. Vintage outfits are not required but are most welcome.

Mayor of Craigavon, Carla Lockhart, (pictured with ‘GI’ Eamon Quinn), said: “It’s an exciting time for Portadown and Portadown 400 is a fantastic opportunity for local residents and visitors alike to take a look back at the town’s enthralling history, enjoy the present and look forward to the future of our community.

“The Bed of Roses and Vintage Tea Dance are fantastic examples of the many unique events which are still to come over the next nine months. There is so much happening throughout the year and I’m looking forward to a spectacular year of events that will include art exhibitions, talks and tours, history fairs, tree planting and time capsule events.

“I would encourage everyone to keep an eye on the local press, our website and social media for dates, times and venues.”

The Portadown 400 celebrations are being supported by a number of partner organisations, including Portadown Chamber of Commerce, Portadown Railway Station, schools and members of the community, who will work together to provide nine months of festivities.

The Bed of Roses 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.

For further information about Portadown 400 events, contact Craigavon Borough Council, visit, telephone 3831 2400 or email

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