Ballina Salmon Festival celebrates forty five years

The town of Ballina, also known as the Salmon Capital of Ireland, is gearing up to celebrate its annual festival in real style this July 10 to 19.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the inaugural Ballina Salmon Festival which is widely recognised as Ireland’s leading community organised and family oriented festival.

In marking this milestone, the organisers have compiled an incredible 10-day programme for the 2009 Ballina Salmon Festival that sees the revival of some very popular old events and the launch of a number of very exciting new ones.

Ballina Salmon Festival attracts some 200,000 visitors to the Salmon Capital of Ireland annually to experience a 10-day family programme of colour, culture, ceol, agus craic in the lively market town of Ballina on Mayo’s majestic salmon rich River Moy.

Get your glad rags on for the opening night event on Friday July 10 and celebrate the revival of what was one of the most popular events of the festival in earlier years – The Rag. Kick off the festival in style, create a whacky or topical costume and join the rag parade through the streets of Ballina for an evening of mayhem and madness.

On Sunday July 12 you are invited to dust down your star spangled banner for the festival’s American night – an innovation for the 2009 festival when festival goers celebrate all that is great about the USA. Boogey on down to the sounds of live country, jazz, and rock music and sample some of America’s many famed foods.

Heritage Day takes place on Wednesday July 15 and is widely recognised as one of the festival’s flagship events. Often copied but never equalled by other festivals around the country, on this day Ballina Salmon Festival will transport visitors and locals alike back in time for an authentic experience of the culture, crafts, and traditions of old Ireland. Get into the spirit of it all and come in costume on the day.

Trading heavily on its envied title as the Salmon Capital of Ireland, Ballina Salmon Festival has plenty to offer both seasoned and aspiring fishermen with various angling oriented events including a fly casting day, junior angling competitions, and an evening with salmon experts.

Family is at the heart of Ballina Salmon Festival and this year the festival offers the best children’s programme yet – boasting at least one children’s event every day throughout the 10-day programme. Activities for the juniors this year include junior angling and busking competitions, various sporting events including a triathlon and a soccer blitz. Other attractions include World of Science, a magic show, fancy dress and disco, and the renowned Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Sunday July 19.

All the family can join the Salmon Samba on Sunday July 18. This is another new addition to the festival programme that sees i102-104fm roll into town with top DJ Fergal Darcy pitting the beat in the streets while live samba bands take the carnival atmosphere to the max before leading the crowds in a torch-lit procession to the banks of the Moy for a breath- taking fireworks finale.

For a full programme listing or information on any of the above events visit the festival’s website on www.ballinasalmonfestival.ie or e-mail [email protected] or telephone the festival office on 096 79814/79815.

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