This year’s Ballinasloe Fair and Festival will be the largest ever held with 95,000 visitors expected and an estimated €8.5 million revenue boost for the local economy.
With a large number of activities planned from the traditional equine elements of the Fair and Festival to a vast range of music and family events, there is a multitude of choice for visitors to Ballinasloe over the duration.
Speaking prior to the perennially popular event, Mal Croffy, Fair and Festival Chairman, enthused with regard to what the weekend held in store and expressed his delight with the President's decision to officially open proceedings in Ballinasloe.
"The Ballinasloe Horse fair is the oldest in europe and the greatest celebration of horse and equine culture in Ireland. The festival committee is delighted that President Higgins accepted our invitation to attend this year's event and will arrive in Ballinasloe ahead of the official opening at 3.30pm on Sunday. The President is also scheduled to attend the lunging arena on the Fairgreen to see the concluding stages of the 'Horse of the Fair' competition," Mr. Croffy noted.
On Monday, October 1, the Fairgreen will be complete with traders and the venue will feature the inaugural Creagh Galros Connemara Competitions. A heritage presentation will take place in the library on Tuesday, October 2nd, while the Shearwater Hotel will host a fashion evening on Wednesday, October 3.
Soapbox racing is scheduled for Thursday, October 4, with the Supermac’s Monster Fireworks display at the marina set to illuminate the night sky on Friday, October 5.
‘Country Fair Day’ takes precedence on Saturday, October 6. Always a popular day in the town with stalls and free street entertainment, there will be traditional music on offer on the sound stage with the Wraffter family from Kilbeggan making their performance debut.
The Fair and Festival concludes on Sunday, October 7 and will be a family activity laden day. The open dog show takes place in St. Michael’s Square, while the international craft and food market featuring global produce certain to prove popular.
A vintage display will take place on Main Street and Dunlo Street and features vintage vehicle owners displaying their wares. This event is run in association with Ballinasloe Vintage club.
Mr. Croffy expressed his deepest gratitude to the event sponsors without whom the Fair and Festival would not be possible.
"We are deeply indebted to all of mian sponsors, Ballinasloe Credit Union, Supermacs, Jim Derwin, Gullanes Hotel, Ballinasloe Vintners, Galway County Council, Roscommon County Council, Shearwater Hotel, KPW, Dubarry, Bread Basket, Ambrose and Mary Cuddy, Siac Construction and Apache Pizza. A full acknowledgment list will feature in the Festival programme," Mr. Croffy commented.