The Athlone River Festival returns this summer after last year’s event was cancelled at the last minute due to spiralling costs.
This year, with the permission of Waterways Ireland and supported from Westmeath County Council, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat will be organising the River Festival, which will take place on July 1 and 2.
Damien Delaney, volunteer member of Lough Ree RNLI, says the Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat has received huge support from local communities and would like to give something back with a fun-filled water-based weekend for all to enjoy.
The event begins on the evening of Saturday, July 1, with the IWAI motor cruiser flotilla sail-past and arrival into the town, followed by a Guinness, oysters and jazz reception on the quay at Sean’s Bar.
On Sunday, July 2, the action kicks off at 10am with the junior fishing competition organised by Athlone Anglers, followed by a variety of activities over the course of the day.
Other key events include the Vintners barrel race, the RNLI soap box derby, and the RNLI raft races featuring both a general and a fancy-dress race.
There will also be demonstrations from Lough Ree Yacht Club and Athlone Sub Aqua Club, rowing races organised by Athlone Boat Club, as well as a fly-boarding performance.
Speaking this week, Mayor of Athlone John Dolan said: “A couple of the organisers approached me a couple of months ago with the idea of reviving the festival. We had a meeting with the council and the idea was received very well. I think it is very important that Athlone, with such an amenity as the River Shannon, has a festival centered around that. I have no doubt that the organisers will make a major success of it.”
Entry forms for the raft races are available from Kieran Sloyan, Sean’s Bar, on (087 ) 6298133. All entries must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday, June 22, and all participants must be 18 or older on the day of the race.
Lough Ree RNLI are also seeking sponsorship for some of the events on the day. Contact Damien Delaney on (087 ) 2437092 or email [email protected].