Launch of the 53rd Ballina Salmon Festival takes place in Ballina Arts Centre

A large crowd attended the launch of Ballina Salmon Festival in Ballina Arts Centre on Thursday 22nd June, where the official programme of events was unveiled and a souvenir magazine launched.

Speakers helping to launch the event, one of the largest and longest-running festivals in Ireland included County Manager, Mr. Peter Hynes, who emphasised the importance of the event to both the local community and Mayo as a whole, and complimented the committee and volunteers for their effort. Councillor Seamus Weir spoke on behalf of the elected representatives, and Eva Dearie, Wild Atlantic Way Team Manager at Failte Ireland spoke about the importance of delivering quality festivals and experiences along the route in order to encourage visitors to the county to slow down and spend more time in one place.

Chair of Ballina Salmon Festival, William P. Lewis said: “Ballina Salmon Festival gives the whole community an opportunity to demonstrate their pride in their place, their families, their clubs, their community and their town. It is our special celebration of life, giving us an opportunity to show the world the talented in our midst and the generosity of our spirits.”

The design and production of the official souvenir magazine and programme was sponsored once again by Office Pro, and owner of Office Pro Bernard Guthrie said: “We are proud to be involved with Ballina Salmon Festival for the fourth year running and I would encourage all businesses in the town to get behind it and support it. Everyone’s business benefits – either directly or indirectly – from the revenue generated by the festival. We have a great town, and we also need to encourage our families and friends from afar to come and visit us here in Ballina for the festival.”

This sentiment was echoed by Jane O’Hora, speaking on behalf of Ballina Chamber of Commerce and the Great National Hotel, Ballina, who referred to the importance of the festival to the town, both economically and as an occasion at which to make unforgettable memories. The 2016 Lady of the Moy, Laura Judge told of her joy at representing Ballina as an Ambassador over the past year, and how rewarding it had been both personally and professionally.

MC on the night was Sean Walsh, Director of Ballina Arts Centre, and musical entertainment was provided by young musicians from the Music Generation Mayo programme, under the stewardship of resource worker Philip Cassidy. Food and refreshments on the night were provided by local businesses Doherty’s Daybreak, Ballina Beverages, The Ballina Manor Hotel and The Post House.
Ballina Salmon Festival takes place from 9th – 16th July, with a full daily programme of events, including a comprehensive children’s programme. Events include a spectacular choral event “Night at the Proms”, “A Celebration of Life through Irish Music, Song and Dance”, an appearance by country singer Johnny Brady and National Heritage Day. Full details on www.ballinasalmonfestival.ie.