LIMERICK will welcome its American brethren with open arms for this year’s July 4 celebrations.
A festival celebrating American’s day of independence will take place in the city over the weekend of July 4-6.
In the year of City of Culture, the festival’s organisers believe they have developed a programme aimed at making Limerick the prime destination for Americans living in Ireland to visit.
“I believe Limerick has the potential to be the number one destination for any Americans on this side of the Atlantic looking to celebrate their national holiday,” said Siobhan Downey, who came up with the idea for the July 4 festival, which first ran in 2012.
“The festival is also our way of acknowledging a country that has become a home for many thousands of Irish people down through the years,” she added.
The centrepiece of the programme is a free American style picnic and family fun day in the People’s Park on Saturday, July 5, from 11.30am to 5.30pm.
Expect American music, food and games, plus a car show and the annual dog show fundraiser.
Other events scheduled to take place include an American Roller Party, a July 4th festival theme at the Milk Market, an Independence Day Party at the Locke Bar on the day itself and an All American Race Day at Limerick Racecourse on Sunday, July 6.
Festival volunteer Tim Kelly, of Kelly Travel, said the festival would help Limerick to maintain its strong American links, while noting that US multinationals employ thousands of people around the region.
“Foreign direct investment is vital for the local economy and we have to do everything we can to make potential investors and employers feel welcome in Limerick,” he explained.
“The Peoples Park event is guaranteed to make Limerick’s visitors from across the pond feel right at home, and get locals in the festive spirit.
“This family fun day will feature an American BBQ cook-off, a 4th of July tradition, as well as performances by American and local musicians who will bring the sounds of popular American classics to the Park.
“Volunteers from Baltimore in Maryland will be arranging Baseball and American Football games and skill competitions, Limerick Animal Welfare will host a dog show, and a team of professional photographers have volunteered to take family photographs for free,” he added.
A Lacrosse tournament will take place, while local clubs and youth organisations, supported by Limerick Printmakers, can participate and display artwork during the celebrations.
For more details see www.4thJulyLimerick.com.