Despite not having the hard figures from the Destination Sport week just yet, spokespeople for both the Council and the Chamber of Commerce are adamant it will go ahead again next year.
“We’re extremely happy with it. It can only get bigger and bigger and it showcased what can be done if we get more sport behind us,” said Sonia Statham of the council’s Sports Partnership.
“The Chamber is really delighted. This can be built on year on year, built like a festival,” said Karagh Fox from the Mullingar Chamber of Commerce.
However, it is expected to be at least another week before the final figures for participation and revenues can be collated from the businesses of the town and the 25 clubs who ran the 65 different activities which included canal swimming, a long puck in Belvedere, and a cricket match on the grounds of St Finians in the week up to June 20.
“We’re only collecting the data at the moment, collecting the feedback from the clubs,” said Ms Statham.
“We’re just giving the clubs a break from us coz we’ve been haranguing them for months! They’ve had enough of us for a while but we should have a guesstimate next week. The debriefing committee are meeting next week and we should have final numbers by then,” she said.
She explained how the idea behind the week of sport in Mullingar was born out of the success of the Discover Mullingar project last September.
“The committee believed this could be stretched out,” said Ms Statham.
The events came to a summery conclusion on June 20 with the Taste of Mullingar on Dominick Street, which saw fire-eaters, tug of war, sponge throwing, face painting, and a 200-person ‘flash-dance’, alongside the farmers’ market in the beaming sunshine.
There was also widespread praise in Mullingar’s council chamber last week for those involved in the Destination Sport and Taste of Mullingar events.
Cllr Peter Burke was first to heap praise on the initiatives, asking that Mullingar Town Council continue to endorse projects and events such as the recent Destination Sport festival, and “encourage all stakeholders to keep up the good work over the summer months”.
“From attending the events, it was great to see people in the town and to be able to show off the town. These are very worthwhile events. It is essential to have everyone on board, and is an example of joined up thinking in these economically difficult times,” he said.
Cllr Ruth Illingworth added that there were huge numbers of people who deserve credit for the festivals.
“I would like to single out Maurice Stenson [of the Community & Enterprise section of Westmeath County Coucil] for his work and enthusiasm, we are very lucky to have someone of his commitment,” she said.