THE Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 will do a ‘fly-by’ over Limerick on Saturday at 4pm as part of Riverfest.
The Marine Search and Rescue and boats from Foynes Yacht Club, along with kayaks and smaller craft, will be out on the water as part of a flotilla on Saturday for the Maldron Hotel backed Riverfest on the Shannon event - a series of water based activities that will get Limerick natives out onto the river, if so inclined.
The river has always been at the heart of the festival, returning for an 11th successive year this May Bank Holiday weekend, and will again be the focus for a huge fireworks display on Sunday night.
In between there will be fashion events, food to die for, fine music on offer and plenty of fun for all the family as part of an event that has, in the words of Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr Kevin Sheahan, “developed into a major festival that has a growing reputation at a national level”.
The key emphasis in Riverfest is that it has long offered an alternative for people who would normally head to the coast or elsewhere, bringing thousands of people into the city for a full weekend.
It has also offered a reason for people to come to Limerick, becoming over the past decade – and also with the key addition of the Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run – the biggest festival in Ireland on the key bank holiday weekend of the summer.
Last year Riverfest became a monster, bringing 80,000 people into Limerick and generating an income way beyond the €5.5m anticipated.
A centrepiece of the weekend is the Coors Light BBQ, taking place on Saturday in the Robert Street/Denmark Street area of the city from 11am, with over 40 teams signed up to compete for the €1,000 prize on offer. Expect a riot of smells, sounds and colour.
On Friday night, 22 teams will line up on the grid for the second Soapbox Derby on Denmark Street from 7pm, with the winner seeking a €500 cash prize.
New this year to an event that also has new organisers in Galway events company Grooveyard is the Riverfest Busking Competition, with over 20 acts playing around the Cruises Street and Market Quarter area from 7pm on Sunday night, competing for an impressive prize that includes a voucher worth €750 from Steamboat Music.
There is also Fashion Friday, hosted by Celia Holman Lee and the Continental Market, running for all four days of Riverfest, plus loads of family activities taking place all weekend.
Fashion Friday: A free fashion extravaganza hosted by style queen Celia Holman Lee in Arthur’s Quay, with a coffee morning fashion show taking place at 11.30am and an afternoon tea show at 3pm
The Continental Market - Friday to Monday - 10am-6pm: A wide range of tasty treats to suit everyone, based on Michael Street
Soapbox Derby, Denmark Street Friday, 7pm: The winner of the 2015 Riverfest Soapbox Derby will be given a €500 cash prize
Nathan Carter at the Big Top - Friday, 7pm: Wagon Wheel singing sensation performs in the Milk Market, tickets from Dolans.ie
Coors Light Riverfest BBQ competition - Saturday, 11am-6pm: Ireland’s largest BBQ event, with the overall winning team being awarded a €1,000 cash prize. The event returns to the Robert Street/Denmark Street area of the city, with over 40 teams expected to participate
The Maldron Hotel Riverfest on the Shannon, Saturday, 11am-6pm: A series of water based activities and events taking place between Thomond and Sarsfield bridges
The Inflatable Sculpture Festival - Saturday, 1pm at the Hunt Museum
Hudson Taylor live at the Big Top - Sunday, 7pm: Top Irish duo perform in the Milk Market, with Little Hours on support duties
Riverfest Busking Competition - Sunday, 7pm: Buskers will perform around the Cruises, Denmark, Robert, Michael Street areas - with the winner to be unveiled at 9pm. Prizes include recording time in Red Door Productions, a voucher worth €750 from Steamboat Music and a support slot in Dolan’s
Riverfest Fireworks - Sunday at 9.45pm: watch the skies of Limerick transform into an explosion of colours from King John’s Castle with the surrounding bridges and boardwalk providing superb views
See Limerick.ie for more details.