This year Ballinamore celebrates it’s 46½ Annual Family Festival from August 12-14. The renowned week of events includes nightly open air concerts and a host of free family and children activities.
Why 46½? Well according to the festival organisers “Somewhere along the line we skipped a year... in order to have the 50th Anniversary of the Festival on the right year, we had to make a year up, hence the 46½!” But that extra half stands for more than just that, this is no ordinary festival, it is a festival and a half and the seven day line up of events, activities and concerts each day put it top of the festival line ups in the North West.
The much anticipated festival opens this Sunday, August 12 with plenty of song and dance. James Keegan Dancing World Champion and lead dancer in Michael Flately’s Lord of the Dance will start the party at 3.45 before the Samba Band Parade and official opening by Tess Reynolds. Patrick Feeney will take to the open stage to serenade and get you up dancing before Reverb get the music pumping at 9pm.
On Monday, August 13, while the adults recover from Sunday night the kids enjoy mural painting, swimming competition and games during the day before Golf Target Chipping and Novelty Giant darts take over Main Street at 8pm.
The Druids will belt out some tunes on the open air stage beside the church from 9pm.
Tuesday, August 14 is Ballinamore Agricultural Show Day. The field will open at 9.30am and judging will begin in the marquee at 11am. This is a great day for all the family, pets and farm animals. Horses, cattle, sheep and dogs will be put through their paces for some prizes. Glamorous Grannies and fashionistas better put in an appearance too -there are titles to be won! Back on the main street a cock fight is expected to break out at 8pm while local ladies will battle it out for “Housewife of the Year” at 8.30pm. Jump at the Sun will provide the night time free entertainment from the main stage.
Wednesday 15th is a mixed bag of events from drawing with children, John McGahern Memorial Tour, Bonny Baby competition, Bilingual historic Walking Tour, Skittles, Waterways Fun Run/ Walk, Men’s Over 40s Football and Dodge Ball all taking their place on the programme. If you have any energy after all that join the crowd on t he street for The Vibes a local band who always delight from 8pm.
It will be a sporty Thursday with the Joe McInerney GAA Family Day in Pairc Sheain Ui Eislin getting underway from 4pm. Girls & Boys Football Blitz and Kids indoor soccer will give plenty to shout about. For the lovely ladies who want to be pampered, the Ultimate Night Out in the Commercial Hotel will have everything you need including a guest appearance by the dreamy Nathan Carter! Nathan Carter and band will take to the Open Air Stage at 9pm.
The highlight on Friday 17th is of course the huge Fancy Dress Hooley. The hilarious event always attracts the strangest of characters and you really need to be creative to take home the prize. Join the crowd of crazies as they parade through the town on Friday night at 10pm and make your way to Priors Fancy Dress Ball. Friday will also host the annual Publicans Bed Race, the Senior Citizens Party and lots of kids activities.
Samba drums and children in fancy dress will make for a noisy, playful and colourful event on Saturday 18th. The annual John Joe McGirl Commemoration Parade will depart from the square at 8pm before legendary Mick Flavin delights the crowds in a free open air concert.
The final day of Ballinamore Festival on Sunday, August 19 will be an entire Family Fun Day with special guest, obstacle courses, slide disco dome and more. At 3.30pm pick up your teddy and join the Teddy Bear Picnic at main street. Justin McGirl will sing out the end of the festivities before the spectacular fireworks display erupts over the Shannon Erne Waterway.
Live music will be hosted in each of the bars in town every night of the festival.
Ballinamore is the place to be next week - there will be no half measures employed to make August 12-19, the best week of the year in Ballinamore!