Following in the footsteps of last year’s successful Euro-Festival and triFest, Summer Fest, the three-day festival of family fun and entertainment to take place in July, was launched by mayor Sheila Buckley Byrne at Tuesday’s town council meeting.
Members of the organising committee were present to witness the formal launch of the festival, which will run over the weekend of July 1-3 and incorporate this year’s triAthlone event.
The council has contributed €27,000 towards the planning and running of the festival, which offers a programme of completely free entertainment.
The Civic Square, Burgess Park, the Athlone Castle area, and Main Street carpark will play host to a number of family-orientated events, including musical performances, food and craft market, street theatre, fire breathers, treasure hunt, and more.
Musical entertainment will be provided by local bands including Athlone Town Youth Band, Ravens Marching Band, Athlone Pipe Band, and The Fabulous Bonker Boys, while Blue Moose and Mick Flavin will headline the outdoor live music events on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Street theatre from Tonnta, an aeroplane and helicopter display from Athlone Model Flying Club, sumo suits, dunk tank event, and face painting will add a splash of colour to the jampacked line-up.
This year’s annual triAthlone will take place on Saturday July 2, and will include events for participants at all levels including Olympic distance, Try-a-Tri, and relay events.
Town clerk John Walsh, who was instrumental in planning the event, said he would particularly encourage families to come along and join in the festivities.
Officially launching the event, Cllr Buckley Byrne said the event is the council’s response to the success of last year’s Euro-Festival, in the wake of which local people called for an annual summer festival to be held in Athlone.
“The focus is on free entertainment and fun. The event wraps itself around triAthlone, so we would encourage participants to bring their families and stay over the weekend. I would ask people to come along and take part, and to spread the word,” she said.
Cllr Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, a member of the organising committee, said that the festival was worth every penny of the money spent, and that it is for the people of the town. “Come and see what we have to offer,” was his invitation.