The hugely popular River to Lough Festival has become a firm favourite in the family festivals calendar over the past couple of years.
To meet demand, this year River to Lough is setting up home in the lavish surroundings of Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday, July 2.
The change of venue for the festival which celebrates the tradition of eel fishing and now in its third year, will enable organisers to welcome three times more visitors to River to Lough to celebrate Lough Neagh Eel because eels are tasty.
Lough Neagh Eels have been awarded for their heritage, tradition and authenticity and this year’s festival will bring to an end the inaugural ‘Eel-Eat’ restaurant week which will see 40 restaurants across Northern Ireland celebrate Lough Neagh Eel from Saturday, June 25.
Organisers at Lough Neagh & Its Waterways took the decision to grow the festival beyond Toome’s eel fishery following last year’s sell out event and they have been overwhelmed by the response from the public already to the festival which has gained popularity as one of Northern Ireland’s most unique food festivals.
Launching the event with outgoing Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, Councillor Thomas Hogg, Eimear Kearney of Lough Neagh Partnership, said: “To meet visitor demand we’re taking over the sumptuous Antrim Castle Gardens to provide capacity for up to 10,000 this year. It’s the perfect location as it’s extremely accessible and is situated right on the river and mouth of Lough Neagh.
“With the added space we’re able to provide lots more entertainment for the whole family including cookery demonstrations, eel tastings and a teddy bear’s picnic.
“River to Lough will be the grand finale of Eel-Eat, the first ever dedicated week long celebration of Lough Neagh Eel which will take place in restaurants across Northern Ireland.”
Foodies and families will be able to descend on Antrim Castle Gardens from 12noon until 5.00pm on Saturday, July 2. River to Lough Festival admission is priced at adults £2.00, children £1.00.
The River to Lough Festival programme includes cookery demonstrations in the Food Theatre, a cookery school with Paula McIntyre priced from £20.00 and a traditional eel supper in the pop-up restaurant priced from £5.00; an eel heritage exhibition and fishermen story-telling, live entertainment, a craft and artisan food market, line demonstrations and a teddy bear’s picnic!