The Portarlington French Festival is back with a bang and takes place this weekend, July 14-16. This family-friendly event has something for everyone, a quality which organisers hope will make it one Port’s best French Festivals yet.
One of the best festivals yet
Festival organiser Eoghan Coffey says there is more going on than ever before. “We have a lot more entertainment this year and plenty for children, the whole of main street will be full of activity. There is a lot of new things to try out too,” he said.
The distinguished world snail-eating competition is taking place again this year and the organisers are looking for people who have the stomach to take on the challenge.
If you don’t feel like that particular hors d’oeuvres, there is plenty you can do to whet your appetite. Keeping with the French theme, there will be prizes for the best dressed woman and man in French-themed dress and you might also see Cancan dancers strolling down the streets.
Cool for kids
Festival wristbands are back again this year and will be available in the Festival Office at the Square. For just €3 they can be used over the whole weekend and cover the following activities; bouncing castles, all Kids Zone games, the Bumble Bus, pet party, Raven Haven, festival train, the dog show, all festival workshops, Punch & Judy, the treasure hunt, soft petanque, the flea circus and the Trouble with Fairies.
Music is live from the square with Con Jovi taking the stage on Friday at 8pm. Saturday will play host to Al & The Essentials and Super Bass from 6pm. Turas, Macey South and Big Generator will all feature on the Sunday stage from 4.30pm.
For sports enthusiasts there will be plenty to keep the heart racing over the weekend.
On Friday the ultimate showdown will commence as we see who will be crowned Port’s Fittest Family in Portarlington Leisure Centre. Another colossal showdown will take place around town in McCann Park at 6.30pm where the Laois/Offaly U-8 football blitz will be played.
Saturday morning sees the marathon escargot 5km run being held in McCann Park at 9.30am. The Peoples Park plays host to tag rugby from 2pm and at 7pm rivals will come to a head as Portarlington Club play Gracefield in Gracefield GAA grounds.
One of the main attractions of the festival, Tour de Port, begins at 9.30am on Sunday starting from main street. Main street will also host displays of mammoth strength for the Port Strongman and Strongwoman competition later that day.
The festival has been running in the town since the 1970s and Eoghan believes the continued success of the festival is due to the support behind it. “The input from the people of Port is unbelievable,” he added. “There is an extremely strong committee and the businesses of town are always helping with sponsorship and support.”
As part of the run up to the festival a gourmet cooking demonstration and wine tasting will take place on Thursday July 13 at the Anvil Inn at 7.30pm.