Portarlington Town will erupt with the essence of France this July for the return of the family friendly weekend at the Portarlington French Festival.
The Laois/Offaly border town is proud of its links with France through the Hugenots and celebrates this 'French connection' every year around Bastille Day July 14 with the holding of Festival Francais de Portarlington.
The square will come to life with a feast of live music, street markets, family and heritage events throughout the weekend which takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 14, 15 and 16.
On the eve of festival on Thursday, July 13 a Gourmet Cooking Demonstration will take place in the The Anvil Inn Portarlington from 7.30pm to get the festive vibes tingling some taste buds.
The official opening of the festival takes place at 7pm on Bastille Day, Friday, July 14 at the main stage.
At the same time a family walk will take off from the Community Centre.
Earlier in the evening at 5pm the search for Port’s Fittest Family will take place. Registration for this is at The Leisure Centre.
A Laois/Offaly U8 Football Blitz will be held on Friday evening at McCann park from 6:30pm Friday evening.
Tribute band Con Jovi will get the festival off to a rip roaring start from 8pm.
On Saturday morning the festival kicks off with Marathon Escargot which is a 5km fun run for all the family.
From 11:00am to 6:00pm a festival market will line the Main Street.
Kidzone activities go on throughout the day as well as a fun fair and entertainment such as can can dancing and foot darts.
One of the highlights of the day will be the Family Floorball Faceoff sponsored by Portarlington Community Centre. Everyone is welcome to join in.
Portlaoise based band Al & The Essentials take to the main stage at 6pm to get the crowds going with some great tunes.
Super Bass, one of Ireland’s Number 1 pop, rap and dance covers band will be playing some of the biggest hits from the 90s right up to the latest chart toppers from 8pm.
There is another early start on Sunday morning for the Tour de Port kicking off at 9:30am followed by a Derryounce walk at 11.30am.
The festival market will line the main street again from 12:00 noon until 6pm.
Kids Zone activities will continue on Sunday and there will be additional fun events including Zumba display, pet party, bumble bus and a Living Nature Talk.
In conjunction with BFit there will be a Strongman and Strongwoman competition at 2pm, on Sunday. The winning male and female will receive a year's free membership with BFit.
The snail eating championship will take place on Sunday at 3:30pm on the main stage.
Five piece ballad and traditional Irish band from Portarlington, Túras, will take to the stage at 4:30pm to kick off the final night of live music.
Another Midlands band, Macey South, will play live at 6pm and the festival is due to finish on a high note when the hugely popular Big Generator take over from 8pm.
Main Street Portarlington will be closed to traffic on Saturday, July 17 from 9.30am to 6pm and on Sunday July 16 from 9.30am until 6pm.
The wonderful festival is supported by Laois Partnership, Laois Tourism, Laois Arts, wholesalers, local businesses, and fundraisers.
An array of festival funfair stalls will be set up along the Main Street and in the Square entertaining families throughout the weekend.
Many events taking place will be covered by a €3 wristband which can be bought at the Festival office in the Square.
The activities covered with the wristband include bouncing castles, kidzone, Bumble Bus, Dog show, festival workshops, Punch & Judy shows, the Trouble with Fairies, Raven Haven Aviary, Festival Train, Treasure Hunt, Soft Petanque, and the Flea Circus.
There is a prize for best dressed french style outfit.