Countdown to DownTime summer festival

Countdown to DownTime summer festival

5 June 2019

THE countdown is on for this month’s spectacular DownTime summer festival which has something for everyone.

Organisers of the four-day community event — which kicks off on June 13 — are promising a sparkling festival of fun which includes two days’ of not-to-be-missed horse racing at the widely acclaimed Downpatrick track.

Horse racing first took place at in Downpatrick in 1685 and for almost 350 years the local track has been constantly improving, boasting great racing, modern facilities, themed race days and a rather unique atmosphere.

DownTime summerfest has been organised by a dedicated local team from all sectors of the community whose aim is to get people out and about not just over the four-day festival, but across the summer.

Now in its second year, the festival is supported by Newry, Mourne and Down Council and features over 30 events covering arts, heritage, music, food and, of course, sport.

There will be street art, live music, theatre performances, free train rides, a living history Viking encampment at the St Patrick Centre and an artisan market — which will be open between 11am and 5.30pm — cradled in the grounds of the Down County Museum.

Locals and visitors alike will experience a haven of freshly produced food, bespoke crafts and relaxing surroundings. Products on display range from Dexter beef to homemade chutneys, bespoke jewellery and crafted ceramics.

And, while at the museum, why not take time to visit its exhibitions or experience a number of live activities including wood turning, butter churning, wool spinning and leather crafts? There will also be live performances from the Armagh Rhymers.

Formally launched two weeks ago, momentum is building ahead of the start of the four-day festival which will feature, for the first time, a busking competition which is open to people of all ages and  abilities.

Not only will entrants have an opportunity to perform in front of crowds, they will also be in with a chance of winning a locally made and highly sought-after Sheeran by Lowden guitar, kindly provided by Downpatrick Racecourse.

Organisers have built on the success of the inaugural festival to showcase what Downpatrick has to offer, with events for all the family, especially as the final day of event is also Father’s Day.

The summerfest event is designed to offer people the opportunity to spend a few days exploring all that Downpatrick has to offer, including a wide range of great food, brilliant music and amazingly talented artists.

It is also hoped that the festival can help further cement the county town’s position as one of the key locations on the Northern Ireland events calendar, with this year’s bigger and better than ever.

The festival is very much geared towards local people as well as visitors with a number of family-focused activities taking centre stage over four action-packed days to sample Downpatrick’s heritage and culture, visitor attractions and famous hospitality. 

Newry, Mourne and Down Council vice-chairman Terry Andrews believes the festival will provide a major economic boost for Downpatrick and the wider area, with the event offering the potential to grow in the years ahead.

He said the festival was established to celebrate and promote what Downpatrick has to offer, in particular, its rich significant heritage and to use venues including the Down Arts Centre, St Patrick’s Square and the town’s cafes, pubs and restaurants.

For more information on the forthcoming festival and to keep updated on news, follow the festival on Facebook @DowntimeSummerfest and Twitter @DownTimeFest.