NEWCASTLE Harbour will be a hive of activity next week when the popular festival makes a very welcome return. Organised by Newcastle Harbour Heritage Association, and kindly supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, the countdown is well and truly on for the event on Saturday 6 August. It promises to be a fantastic day’s entertainment, with a jam-packed line-up of events to suit all ages and a wide range of interests.
The festival will kick off with a traditional tug o’war competition at 1pm, while from 2.30pm there will a kids’ sandcastle building competition, which will be judged by the local lifeboat station’s mascot, Stormy Stan. To coincide with the festival, Newcastle Lifeboat Station will host its open day, the first since 2019 due to the pandemic.
The station will be open to visitors from 11am through to 4pm, and locals are encouraged to call in, meet station personnel, see the equipment and boats used and learn more about what it’s like to volunteer with the charity before heading over to enjoy some of the activities taking place. The boathouse will be open to the public and there will also be a display of local emergency services, including, subject to operational requirements, Newcastle Coastguard, the Fire and Rescue Service and members of the PSNI while the Newcastle-based specialist Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) will have some of its highly trained canines and their handlers present.
At 4pm there will be water-based rescue displays by SARDA and the RNLI and then, from 5.30pm, there will be a series of junior and adult raft races, with proceeds going to local charity Mind Your Mate and Yourself (MYMY). Entries can be registered for this sure to be popular event online via the www.eventbrite.com site. Organisers are also delighted to announce that members of the North Down Model Aircraft Club will be showing off their planes throughout the day, while Newcastle Yacht Club will also be opening its doors so people can learn more about the joy of sailing.
Dundrum Coastal Rowing Club, recently crowned world champions, will make a special visit on the day, and there will also be performances from local Irish dancers and ukulele players, plus traditional competitions and fun activities such as welly boot throwing and pitch and toss. There will be a barbecue fired up throughout the day, while food and drink, plus live music, will be on offer at local businesses. A spokesman for Newcastle Harbour Heritage Association, a community association established in 2020 with the aim of helping to protect the area’s history while promoting the site and encouraging its use, has thanked everyone who has helped to make the 6 August event a reality. “We are delighted to be able to host this and would encourage as many people as possible to call up and enjoy everything that will be on offer. “It will be a great day out and we are confident next weekend’s event will well and truly put the harbour festival back on the map, and make it a yearly event,” he said. Anyone wishing to enter a team of six in the tug o’war competition is asked to private message Newcastle Harbour Heritage Association’s Facebook page. Entries cost £30 per team.