Galway’s Food Festival has in just its second outing copperfastened its place as one of the city’s most successful festivals, attracting tens of thousands to the city over the bank holiday weekend.
Boosted by the success of the event, organisers are confident that the festival will go on to become of the the country’s most unique food festivals when it is held again next Spring.
A record 60,000 visitors attended the 2nd Galway Food Festival during the Easter weekend, with President Michael D Higgins paying a surprise visit on Friday.
Up to 15,000 people per day visited the Festival Village at Fishmarket Square and an additional 10,000 visitors walked through the Woodquay Country Market. The Moycullen Friday Market, the Galway Market and the many venues on the citywide Food Trails all reported large attendances.
The Woodquay Country Market on Saturday was a resounding success. Visitors and traders alike were entertained by street theatre characters interacting with the crowds. Visitors experienced traditional Irish music and dance and a large variety of produce ranging from colourful organic Galway fruit and vegetables to natural seaweed products from Co. Clare.
Soaking up the sunny atmosphere on picnic benches at the Festival Village, visitors enjoyed gourmet sausages from Castlemine Farm, Ali’s Fish, delicious Galway Bay Seafood chowders, Thai Garden’s pig-on-a-spit barbecue, Made in Galway produce and Choc Amore’s mouth-watering chocolate fountain. Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Terry O’ Flaherty visited and spoke to many traders at the Festival’s outdoor markets on Saturday afternoon.
Galway Food Festival Chairman, JP McMahon commented, “The Festival steering committee and participants are delighted with the record number of visitors to the festival and it demonstrates how passionate people are about food provenance, sustainability and healthy eating.
"Participants in the Food Trails throughout the city have all expressed their delight with large crowds attending in-house events, and accommodation providers reported increased booking levels. The Cookery Demonstrations at the Demo Tent also attracted large crowds with a lot of great audience interaction with the chefs. I would like to thank all the participants, sponsors and supporters of the festival who made this weekend such a huge success and an enjoyable experience for visitors. This years festival was a great success and we are delighted.”
There were many highlights during the weekend with kids events providing lots of family fun, particularly the Agri Aware Mobile Farm on Friday when many happy children got to hold a one-day old baby calf and lamb along with cute rabbits and baby chicks. The Pizza Master Class for Kids, Fun and Simple Cooking for Kids and the Children’s and Adult’s Chocolate master classes were also a huge hit.
Neven Maguire’s cookery demo on Friday attracted a large crowd, and the well known chef acknowledged and praised the quality of food available from local food producers and food outlets in Galway. Food Talks on Social Media & Food and Culinary Tourism in the West were popular too. The Festival concluded on Monday night with the hugely popular Galway Food Festival Table Quiz at the King’s Head.