Athlone is certain to be a central hub of early autumnal activity when the town hosts the inaugural River Shannon Feastival in September.
As the summer embers begin to fade, the festival flame will spark into live with a myriad of family orientated events planned for the town on the weekend of Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9.
Celebrating all things synonymous with Athlone and the iconic River Shannon, the two day festival will feature food experiences, cookery demonstrations, water activities and musical entertainment dotted throughout the town.
The River Shannon Feastival will also boast a viking interactive village and an artisan food village at which locals are being encouraged to display their produce.
Welcoming the news that the festival dates had been confirmed, Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena, speaking at the monthly Athlone Municipal District meeting, complimented the work of Una Dorris, Tourism Officer, Westmeath County Council, for her initiative and drive in bringing the festival to fruition.
‘The itinerary for the weekend is very impressive and it is a most welcome development on the town’s events calendar. Hopefully, it will be a success so we can run the festival on an annual basis,’ Cllr. Keena stated.
Echoing those sentiments, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, noted that that the town had to ‘grow on a tourism scale’ adding that he hoped that the festival would gain ‘national prominence.’
‘This should be the first step towards establishing a festival of national prominence, one that we can call our own and a festival for which we must budget to enable us as a Council to contribute further financially in the coming years,’ Cllr. O’Rourke highlighted.
Welcoming the news, Cllr. Michael O’Brien, called for the festival’s displays to be spread throughout the town.
‘I believe that the Strand area with the River Shannon as a backdrop would be an ideal location for some local displays,’ Cllr. O’Brien noted.
The councillor also suggested that the festival was an opportunity for the different nationalities and cultures that dwell in Athlone to be embraced.
‘There are a vast number of nationalities now working and residing in our town and I think that it is only fair that we highlight their cultures and foods during this festival,’ Cllr. O’Brien commented.
Noting that not all locations had been as yet chosen for the weekend’s activities, Ms. Dorris stated that it would be an idea to ‘tap into international cultures’ and urged local food producers to get in touch with Westmeath County Council should they wish to display their wares during the festival weekend.
The River Shannon Feastival will be formally launched on July 9.