Camross High Nellie members cycle through Main Street , Portarlington during Festival Francais de Portarlington. Photo: Michael Scully .
Festival season is upon us and although France may have ended our EURO 2016 dreams, the town of Portarlington are looking forward to this years Festival Francais dé Portarlington.
The festival, a weekend event and will run from Friday, 8th July until Sunday, 10th July.
Voted as the ‘Best Festival in Laois for 2015’ with Laois People, the festival committee are ready for another successful event. Speaking about the event festival co-ordinator Mary Foy said, “We are aware that there are so many festivals happening in Ireland and the pressure is always on to be bigger and better. We try new things every year and we learn from these. This year we are trying to encourage the local pubs to put on their own entertainment and discourage the drinking on streets theme. We hope everyone enjoys the weekend, respects the town and stays safe.”
This year on the Friday, the festival will celebrate the towns Huguenot connection in the beautiful St. Pauls French Church. The evening will see internationally acclaimed Northern Irish Artist, Tommy Barr present “Un Beau Refuge”, a collection of paintings depicting the tendrils of Huguenot Heritage woven through Irish history.
By tradition the main street of Portarlington will boast an Artisan market full of food, crafts and stalls from local businesses as well as some interesting street entertainment, filled art and music workshops and live music on the main stage with Jelly Bean, followed by The Michael Jackson Tribute Show.
Sunday is full of activities and this year the festival will hold its first ever “IRON MAN OF PORT” competition, which is open to Women and Men over 18 years of age. The day will also see the return of the festivals most popular event the “INTERNATIONAL SNAIL EATING COMPETITION”, which usually causes quiet a stomach turning stir amongst the crowds. The final night will then be played out by the ever popular Macey South followed by local band Cardinal Sins.
Other family fun activities over the weekend will include the Festival Train, Kids Playbus, Pentagne Boules, Face Painters and much more.
The Committee have worked very hard to put this year’s event together and would like to say a huge thank you to its sponsors, traders and businesses that are so generous and supportive every year. A special thank you to Molson Coors, Laois Tourism and Portarlington Credit Union. To all the visitors and emigrants who come to Portarlington for this great weekend of celebrations, we are looking forward to seeing you all.
For more information on the weekends events please visit the Festival Francais de Portarlington Facebook page or grab a program available in most of the businesses in Portarlington.