With just five weeks to go, planning for Ballina Salmon Festival is well under way with a packed programme of family-friendly events confirmed for Mayo’s largest community festival. Now in its 53rd year, the 2017 festival runs for three additional days, from Sunday, July 9, to Sunday, July 16, and will bring the streets alive with street theatre, live music, food, heritage, sports, and exhibitions.
The revitalised 2017 festival programme includes some new and exciting additions with a renewed focus on the arts. Old favourites like National Heritage Day, International Evening, the busking competition, Mardi Gras and fireworks, and the teddy bear’s picnic remain in place, and this year visitors can also enjoy new events like A Night at the Proms, a joint performance of Ballina’s choirs featuring more than 230 performers, A Celebration of Traditional Irish Music, and The Core Stage, featuring daily lunchtime performances from talented young musicians from all around Mayo. Country star Johnny Brady also makes an appearance at the country and western night.
Ballina Salmon Festival has always put a strong focus on catering for younger attendees, and this year’s comprehensive children’s programme includes imaginative events like art through recycling workshops, river sports, a circus workshop, and music for little ones, as well as a variety of sporting events.
The festival generates millions in revenue for the town, attracting some 200,000 attendees annually. It is supported by the workers of the Moy Valley Resources Community Employment Scheme, who work in a variety of roles from promotion to prop-building and administration to event management. It is also generously supported by local businesses throughout Ballina and beyond.
Chair of Ballina Salmon Festival, Billy Lewis, said: “Ballina Salmon Festival is important to the town, not just in economic terms but in ways even more important than that. It is a true celebration of community spirit, combining talent, endeavour, and a pride of place in our own area. It is an opportunity for the community of Ballina to display its talent, and the sense of self-belief and self-worth that binds us together.”
PRO of Ballina Salmon Festival, Anne-Marie Flynn, said: “Ballina Salmon Festival remains vital to our local economy and remains a significant attraction for tourists and diaspora in the west of Ireland. The level of volunteerism involved in this festival is almost unique, which makes it special. It’s also fun to be involved and it is heartening to see new individuals and businesses getting involved with the festival and continuing the tradition of community involvement.”
The festival committee is still seeking volunteers to help out during festival week, with roles from stewarding to social media management available. Anyone interested in helping or discussing sponsorship opportunities can contact the Ballina Salmon Festival office on (096 ) 79814. Ballina Salmon Festival will be officially launched in Ballina Arts Centre on Thursday, June 22, at 8pm, and all are welcome to attend. A full programme of events is available on the brand new Ballina Salmon Festival website, www.ballinasalmonfestival.ie