Packed programme for annual ARCHES Festival

Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council Cllr. Thomas Hogg with Deputy Mayor Cllr. John Blair at the launch event for this years ARCHES Festival.

Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council Cllr. Thomas Hogg with Deputy Mayor Cllr. John Blair at the launch event for this years ARCHES Festival.

Randalstown ARCHES Community Festival takes place this year from June 16 to 26 and has once again got a jam packed programme of events.

Festival mascot, ARCHIE, said: “As you might guess, I have a special interest in ARCHES Festival as one of their key events over the years has been the Duck Race on the River Maine. Hundreds of my small relations take part each year in this hazardous course from the weir to the bridge in the town centre. Risking life and wing, they dive in and swim downriver in a desperate attempt to win a prize for the lucky punter who has sponsored them!

“I know that all safety precautions are taken but I will be happy to be there to keep an eye on things. And I would just add a word of thanks to all the traders in the town who help ARCHES by selling ducks in their shops.”

Of course the Duck Race on Wednesday, June 22, is only one, albeit an important one, of a large number of sporting, cultural and fun events which take place over the week-and- a-bit of Festival.

Due to the success the organisers had last year for new events they have promised to bring them back again this year.

One of these is the Great Randalstown Soap Box Derby, this year the derby will take place on the evening of Friday, June 24 in New Street. If you want to take part or just spectate, more details can be obtained from ARCHES office on 028 9447 8471.

George Graham, Chairman of ARCHES, has many years of experience organising the annual festival with the help of his co-directors on ARCHES Board and the staff in ARCHES office, as well as the many volunteers who make a very welcome and valued contribution each year.

George commented: “Planning for the annual festival begins even before the current year has finished!

“Momentum starts to gather in late May when the festival programme book is released and then as the big week approaches we hit fever pitch. I am once again delighted to have Archie join us at the Festival.

“He promises to make some surprise visits around the town, so be sure to keep an eye out for him and get your selfie moment with the lovable duck.

“On a more serious note I must stress that Festival just wouldn’t happen without all the volunteers who, as both individuals and groups, contribute finances, time, energy, artistic talents and much more and we in ARCHES are really grateful to all who help in any way possible.

“A big thank you also to those who come out and support the festival, it’s the great crowd support that we get to each event that make the hard work, sweat blood and tears worthwhile.

“The other essential element of any festival is funding and we are again most grateful to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Enkalon Foundation, for their financial support.”

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Thomas Hogg said: “I was delighted to attend the official launch of the Randalstown ARCHES 2016 Community Festival. 

“This year’s Festival looks set to be bigger and better than before, boasting a great range of fun activities to suit all ages. Of course this is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the Directors of ARCHES, Festival Committee members and volunteers.

“I would encourage people from across Antrim and Newtownabbey to visit Randalstown for what promised to be a terrific 11 days of events.”