Festival fever in Randalstown

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The countdown is definitely on in Randalstown as it prepares for its much loved and anticipated annual community festival which takes place this year from Thursday, June 18 to 28.

But this is no ordinary annual festival.

This year, 2015, marks the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of Randalstown ARCHES Association so the group are planning an extra special festival to celebrate all their previous successful festivals and all their other many achievements over the years, including their recent Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups.

Festival Mascot ARCHIE, who recently helped launch the event is especially looking forward to the Duck Race on the River Maine on Wednesday, June 24, which is followed by the street games, stalls and It’s a Knockout competition.

Thanks to all the traders in the town who will be helping ARCHES by selling ducks in their shops and may the best duck win!

But the Duck Race is only one, of a large number of sporting, cultural and fun events which take place during Festival.

And as this year is a special one, the organisers are planning a few extra special events to make the Festival more memorable.

One of these is a Soap Box Derby which will take place on the evening of Friday, June 26 in New Street in the town centre. So why not put a team together, build your own soapbox, and aim to race to the chequered flag in the fastest time to be in with a chance to win prizes as well as having loads of laughs at the same time.

Many of the old favourites are back, including the Line Dancing Disco at Neillsbrook Community Centre, this year’s theme is ‘Cheeky Latino’ and the Ceilí in St MacNissi’s Parish Centre both on Friday, June 19 from 8pm.

The Wine Tasting event is on the same evening in ARCHES Community Hall, this is a ticketed event and they sell out fast, so it’s first come first served, tickets are available to purchase from The Vintage Off Licence, Randalstown or ARCHES Office at a cost of £12 each.

On Saturday, June 20 the Gymkhana will be held at Dunmore Park from 10am.

The Family Fun Cycle, kindly supported by the Old Bleach Cycle Club, is on Monday, June 22 and will be held in the grounds of Shane’s Castle Estate, starting at 7pm, followed by a Tug of War and Climbing Wall beside Neillsbrook Community Centre.

Many of Randalstown’s Senior Citizen’s will be off on their Mystery Tour on Tuesday, June 23; this popular event has SOLD OUT already!

As always the festival ends with the Grand Finale Parade on Saturday, June 27 assembling at the Shane’s Castle Grand Entrance from 7pm, the parade will be led by North Irish Dragoons and Antrim Chase and joined by classic and vintage vehicles, fancy dress and a parade of floats.

Anyone with a vintage or special interest vehicle is encouraged to take part and also any club, society or local business to enter floats in the parade or take part in the Fancy Dress to promote their organisation.

If you are interested in participating the Grand Finale Parade, please contact ARCHES Office.

There will also be an Outdoor Concert in John Street car park after the Grand Finale Parade which will feature a variety of local talent and artists – music and entertainment to suit all tastes.

The concert is another one of the extra special events scheduled as part of this milestone year for ARCHES, with surprise acts and lots lots more, so get your dancing shoes on and perfect your moves so you can dance the night away!

There are many prizes to be won for the Odd Duck Out competition which will run throughout Festival Week, entry forms available from ARCHES Office.

George Graham, Chairman of ARCHES, said: “Festival is for everybody and we are always delighted with the turnout from the community and hope that this year will be no exception.

“But at the same time as we are enjoying ourselves it is even more gratifying to know that the less fortunate are also benefitting from events that fundraise for charities.

2Many charities are experiencing difficulties and are grateful for all contributions. If money can be raised to benefit them through enjoyable activities so much the better, everyone wins!”

Elisha Devlin, Community Development Officer with ARCHES, added: “It is really great that so many of the businesses in the town continue to support ARCHES Community Festival.

“We really appreciate their input and acknowledge their contribution in our Festival booklet which is published and distributed free of charge, thanks to the traders’ support.”

For further information on any of the festival events, contact ARCHES on 028 9447 8471.