I’m still trying to track down the name of the actual event, but walking past Writers’ Square on Saturday morning, Littl’un and I stumbled across an enormous wooden float. Update - Commenter Steve Barnes reveals that it was Jagannath Rathayatra, the Hindu festival when Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra are taken onto the streets. Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery was sporting a colourful garland as he offered the council’s blessings on the Hare Krishna festivities.
Later as we walked back to the car, the muscle-powered float caught up with us. As you can see from the video below, with its upper sections wider than its wheelbase, the expression “you could fit a bus through there” took on new meanings as the organisers and the PSNI attempted to steer a path through the red and white plastic barriers that mark out the narrow bus lane up Royal Avenue during the Streets Ahead works. Some of the metal fencing fitted to the barriers had to be lifted out to allow the float to pass.
A bit like an ice-breaker ship, the float eventually just used its side walls and momentum to push the walls out when they constrained its path. With traffic backing up behind, there was no turning back. The police escort looked relieved that every time the float was able to restart its journey towards the City Hall and wider roads.