Randalstown hosts another successful ARCHES Festival

Ceili participants and organisers at the ARCHEST Festival,
Ceili participants and organisers at the ARCHEST Festival,

Randalstown is reeling from the huge success of its latest annual Arches Community Festival.

This year’s Festival featured more than 60 events held over 10 days and was supported by more than 500 volunteers.

Taking part in the Family Fun Cycle with ARCHES mascot Archie the Duck.

Taking part in the Family Fun Cycle with ARCHES mascot Archie the Duck.

There were record numbers at many events on the schedule which contained firm Festival favourites including the Wine Appreciation Evening, Ceilí and the Charity Line Dance Disco .

This year the weather was perfect for the outdoor events with the sun shining on the Gymkhana, Family Fun

Cycle, Slow Bike Ride, Walking Treasure Hunt and the Duck Race.

The Dog Show, kindly hosted by Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary for which it raised over £80, returned and joined the Gymkhana arena at Dunmore Park. The Senior Citizens’ Mystery Tour was held again, this year in honour of the late Frank Hurrell (Arches Director), and ended up at the Titanic Centre where thanks to donations by local traders many people went home with prizes.

Participants in the ARCHES Family Ramble pictured before setting off at  Shane's Castle.

Participants in the ARCHES Family Ramble pictured before setting off at Shane's Castle.

The biggest night of Festival is always the Duck Race and Street Games and yet again proved hugely successful as was the Duck Race with over 1000 ducks competing and, returning for its third year in a row, the Great Randalstown Soap Box Derby. Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Paul Hamill, who attended and paid tribute the organisers and volunteers, said: “The festival gets bigger and better each year and boasts a great range of fun activities to suit all ages.”

ARCHES Chair, George Graham, said: “Once again Randalstown has demonstrated their great community spirit by getting involved so eagerly. Our team at Arches Office organised a fun packed activity programme and worked tirelessly to pull off one of the best festivals to date. Along with Arches Staff we had copious Volunteers and numerous traders throughout the town contribute to the success of Festival. We rely heavily on volunteers and the help of the community”.

Thanks were also extended to Antrim and Newtownabbey Council and the Enkalon Foundation for their generous funding for the week’s events and to the many local businesses, individuals and community organisations for their support.

Participants in the wine appreciation evening

Participants in the wine appreciation evening

Ready to set off from Shane's Castle for the ARCHES family ramble.

Ready to set off from Shane's Castle for the ARCHES family ramble.

Mayor of ANBC Cllr Paul Hamill with Arches Director Christine Butler,  paramedics and Festival mascot, Archie the Duck.

Mayor of ANBC Cllr Paul Hamill with Arches Director Christine Butler, paramedics and Festival mascot, Archie the Duck.

Some of the Randalstown Festival Gymkhana participants.

Some of the Randalstown Festival Gymkhana participants.

Linda McGovern with visitors to the Family History Exhibition which was held in Randalstown Library during the Arches Festival.

Linda McGovern with visitors to the Family History Exhibition which was held in Randalstown Library during the Arches Festival.

The McNeilly Family with friends  Archie the Duck at the Arches Festival in Randalstown.

The McNeilly Family with friends Archie the Duck at the Arches Festival in Randalstown.