Two hotly contested events taking place during the Athlone River Festival and Food Village will be the raft and soap box races. Both events involve competitors designing, building, and racing their own raft or kart and promise to entice many competitive and ambitious entries. Both races will take place on Sunday, September 11, at 3pm and 6pm respectively.
The origins of the Raft Race can be traced back to the ‘People’s Regattas’ which were held on the Shannon at Athlone during the last century. This year there will be two categories – a general Raft Race over 250 metres and a fun/fancy dress category over 150 metres.
The Soap Box race is much anticipated following the success of last year’s race which created great excitement on the Left Bank. A video of the 2015 winning kart went viral and to date has been viewed online over three million times. The 2016 course starts at the Palace Bar, weaving down the hill behind Athlone Castle, passing the Castle Inn and Sean's Bar, with the finish line located in front of The Snug Bar.
“Both the Raft and Soap Box races are fantastic fun and generate a lot of enthusiasm from competitors and spectators,” said festival organiser, Paul Donovan.
“It’s going to be even more fun this year with the fancy dress raft race category – have your cameras at the ready! Those interested in taking part should sign up sooner rather than later before we reach maximum entry numbers. You also need time to design and build your raft/ kart!”
All rafts and karts entered into the races must be entirely home-made and powered completely by hand or foot - unassisted by motors. Each raft should have a minimum crew of four people with each person wearing an approved life jacket. Each kart should be driven by one person. Entry fee is €50 per raft and €30 per kart.
This year’s action-packed, mouth-watering Athlone River Festival & Food Village takes place from to Friday to Sunday, September 9-11. The programme will include re-enactments of Viking and Medieval riverside life with axe throwing, traditional blacksmithing, and bread baking. The festival will celebrate the beautiful River Shannon’s connection with Athlone, with a host of river-based events including a boat illumination show, a raft race, flyboarding, rowing, and Dragon boat racing, river swims, angling for adults and children, a sub aqua display, and a magnificent Viking boat display.
For full details and entry forms for each race find Athlone River Festival & Food Village on Facebook, visit www.athlone.ie/visit/river-festival-food-village/, email [email protected] or contact Paul on (086 ) 2783374.