The Athlone Shannon Feastival this weekend 8-9 September expects to attract thousands of people to the Midlands town to take part in and enjoy the action packed lineup of activities on and off the Shannon and Lough Ree waterways.
This year's Feastival is the opening act to the World Canals Conference from 10 September, expected to attract over 400 delegates from all over the world to Athlone.
The Radisson Blu Festival Marquee, located at the walls of Athlone Castle, will be the hub for the festival, hosting workshops, talks, demos and kids’ entertainment.
The Feastival’s official launch event takes place on Saturday afternoon at 4pm when the Sheraton chefs will be busy shucking oysters to accompany Guinness from Sean’s Bar and jazz at the Feastival HQ.
Vikings are landing and will set up the Sheraton Viking Settlement at The Strand, where visitors can experience Viking life by exploring the medieval village and seeing weapon making, embroidery, medieval cooking and more.
On Saturday evening, local chefs sharpen their knives and wield their tongs for the Viking BBQ Cook-Off at 6pm, an event sure to satisfy the appetite.
On Sunday, why not treat yourself by visiting the Sirana Spa Wellness Area for some pampering? Or for a bit more action, watch the local crews as they battle it out to be crowned ‘Champions of The Shannon’ in the leisure boat rowing races.
Professional flyboarders take centre stage at 4pm as they hover over the river performing a variety of amazing stunts and tricks.
The Flogas Demo Kitchen hosts a series of foodie talks, cooking demos and tasty treats all afternoon. And at 6pm Viking Mike casts off and sets sail for a Viking whiskey cruise hosted by Midlands Whiskey Experiences.
Cafés and restaurants participating in the Feastival Food Trail all weekend include The Fatted Calf, Kin Khao, Thyme, Smoke BBQ, The Corner House Bistro, Fine Wine & Food Company, La Cucina Di Angelo, Radisson Blu Hotel, Hodson Bay Hotel, Sheraton Athlone Hotel and The Prince Bar, with more to be announced.
Fashion puts its best foot forwards at The Feastival Fashion Trail. Burgess department store hosts a series of workshops from 11:30am on Saturday with Kathryn Byrne of Your Image Matters, and Athlone Town Centre hosts a ‘Style Squad’ event with stylist Rebecca Rose and Tanya from the My Little Love Stories blog from noon to 4pm.
Meander the Music Trail around Athlone’s pubs featuring sessions at Sean’s Bar, The Snug, The Castle Inn, Fiddler’s Bar, The Malt House, Sheraton Athlone Hotel Bar, the Quayside Bar at the Radisson Blu Hotel, The Prince Bar, and the Waterfront Bar in the Hodson Bay Hotel.
The Artisan Food Village, open Saturday and Sunday, will showcase the best of locally produced food from producers including Kilbeggan Chocolate, Tara Jams, Wild Irish Foragers, KO Kombucha, Quarrymount Farm, Durrow Mills, Behan’s Fruit & Veg, Harvest Café, Radisson Blu Hotel, Prince of Wales Hotel and more.
Other highlights of the weekend include:
- Heritage boat spectacle and cruiser flotilla.
- Whiskey walking tours and tastings with Athlone Whiskey Tours.
- Performances by The Band of the 2nd Brigade and recitals of ‘Poetry in the Park’ at Athlone Castle.
- Free guided tours at selected times at Athlone Castle and Luan Gallery.
- ‘Reflections’, a special Waterways Ireland archive exhibition at Abbey Road Artist Studio and Luan Gallery.
“There’s a palpable air of enthusiasm around in advance of the Feastival,” said Athlone Chamber’s John McGrath. “And it’s great to see local businesses jumping on board and supporting the event in so many ways."