The good news is that summer is on the way and it will surely have reached Longford when the annual Summer Festival opens in Connolly Barracks on Thursday, June 23 with a massive foam party in conjunction with the Attic Youth Project.
The festival was revived last year after a 15 year absence and bought close on 15,000 people into Connolly Barracks on a mainly sunny July weekend. The event has moved to an earlier date this year to avoid a repeat of last year’s regrettable clash with the Co Longford Show.
The team behind the festival unveiled some of their plans at the launch in the Tally-Ho Bar recently where the guys from Herterich’s were also on hand with a sizzling BBQ.
Outlining details for this year’s event, committee member, Joe Flaherty commended the many local groups involved in staging events in the town: “All these events feed into a more more positive picture for Longford. We need to recreate that image of Longford and the best way to do that is with a series of major events that bring people into the town and project a positive image.”
Of course the big success last year was the daytime programme of events and according to Joe: “if something worked well you don’t tinker with it. We have a great, packed programme of events for Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26 that are heavily family-oriented. There will be an array of attractions for the children and also magicians, street performers, a petting farm and much more.
“In addition we will also have the tented village with more than 100 exhibitors showcasing the best of local and national food, crafts and artisan producers.”
Furthermore, attendees can look forward to cookery demonstrations from local favourite, Gary O’Hanlon, who will be joined this year by Louie Oubihi from the Black Olive. Other welcome additions are Lanesboro chef Kieran Glennon from Patrick Guilband in Dublin and the very popular Fiona Egan from the Cloughan Farm & Cookery School, Abbeyshrule.
Proceeds from the Festival will again go to charity and the organisers are working again with the Attic Youth Project and St Christopher’s.
Keen to try and do something really different however, Friday, June 24 will see the organisers turn the old barracks into Ibiza with one of the country’s largest beach parties this summer. Entertainment will feature the popular MC, Pat Flynn and the Maze DJs from Galway.
Then Saturday, June 25 promises to be another big night when the brilliant Brave Giant, young local favourite Tomas Skelly and national treasure Mundy, will top the bill.
Pressed about Sunday night, the organisers are remaining tight-lipped, but insist that they are working on something really special.
Looking ahead to the bumper weekend and hoping for good weather, Joe acknowledged that the event couldn’t go ahead without the goodwill and support of the people of Longford.
He paid tribute to Longford County Council and also Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board for providing the site, the local Fire Officer and also Longford Gardai, who have been supportive from the outset.