50,000 to descend on Limerick for Riverfest celebrations

Fashion in focus: The Fashion Friday event will again be a focus in this year's Riverfest weekend
LIMERICK will open its arms to over 50,000 visitors this May Bank Holiday weekend as it hosts the tenth annual Riverfest.

LIMERICK will open its arms to over 50,000 visitors this May Bank Holiday weekend as it hosts the tenth annual Riverfest.

The weekend celebration, which runs from May 2 to 5, will be packed with a range of events that have made this one of the high-points of the year for tourism in the city, with a number of new events that will strengthen Riverfest’s appeal.

Full details will be announced at its formal launch next week but it will include the return of firm favourites such as the Coors Light Riverfest BBQ Competition, which is now firmly established as Ireland’s leading barbecue event and attracts hundreds of entries; Fashion Friday; the Continental Fair which illustrates the city’s diversity in artisan foods and crafts; and a major fireworks display.

Another major attraction for Limerick visitors over the weekend is the Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run on Sunday, which will attract some 12,000 participants and 30,000 spectators to the streets, many of them coming to stay in Limerick over the weekend to enjoy the wider Riverfest activities.

In the mix also this year are a number of new events to mark the city’s status as Ireland’s first National City of Culture, details of which will be unveiled next week.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Eoghan Prendergast, chief executive of Limerick Marketing Company, said “it’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since we had the inaugural Limerick Riverfest but over those ten years this festival has reinforced Limerick’s credentials as a fun city to visit and enhanced the overall standing of the city in the nation’s eyes.

“Importantly also for local business, it draws over 50,000 people to Limerick each year, resulting in a significant economic boost for local business and this is something we intend to grow.

“Huge work goes into the event every year, including much at a voluntary level, but from what is by comparison a relatively small budget, we have a four day festival which really has no peer in Ireland over the May Bank Holiday weekend.”

He added that the line-up this year has something for all ages.

“We are really pleased with the line-up this year, which will include events that are such firm favourites every year plus a small number of key additional events that will really enhance the stock of this festival and grow its nationwide reputation and appeal.

“There’s great variety in Riverfest, with pretty much something for everyone and it reflects the diversity of the resurgent Limerick. Now that we have reached the ten year milestone and Riverfest has a heritage and credibility all of its own, we intend to grow it over the coming years to become one of the best known destination events in the country annually.”

Among the new events, is the Limerick City Challenge on Monday, May 5, which promises to be a race unlike any other ever seen in Limerick city. Participants will be tested on intellectual, musical, physical, artistic activities throughout the city. The entry fee is €50 for a team of two. To enter call 0894975864.