Northern Ireland’s favourite potato-themed festival is back, bigger and better than ever, on Saturday, October 5, boosted once more by the continued partnership with headline sponsor Randox.
Set against the backdrop of the world-famous Giant’s Causeway, the Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival is a heady mix of family fun, a celebration of world-renowned potato breeder John Clarke, and a chance to sample the delights of the agri-food industry which thrives in the Causeway Coast & Glens.
Now in its sixth year, the line-up for the free event, which runs from 10am – 5pm in the grounds of the Causeway Hotel, boasts a packed programme of activities and attractions for all ages, including the Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market and Food NI Cookery Theatre.
Wendy Gallagher, Causeway Coast Foodie Tours and Festival Committee Secretary, said: “We’re delighted to welcome back the ever-popular Food NI Cookery Theatre to the Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival, which will feature a selection of talented homegrown chefs including Trudy Brolly of Ocho Tapas Restaurant in Portrush, and Niall McGinn of Dundarave Estate in Bushmills.
“The Potato Festival will also play host to the Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market, with a popular collection of award-winning local artisan food, drink, and hand-made arts and crafts.
“And for potato enthusiasts there will be a series of specialist talks on a range of topics including ‘How to breed your own potatoes’ and an exhibition of all John Clarke’s varieties.”
Joining the Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival is a live radio show from Q Radio, which is adding its Broadcast Bus to the eclectic mix of activities on offer, including bouncy castles, a children’s animal farm, The Mighty Spud, and Cutting Edge Helicopters, who will be back in the air again offering spectacular helicopter sightseeing flights .
On the eve of Festival Day a ticketed ‘Super Spud Tour’ to celebrate the area’s unique potato breeding and growing heritage will be held along the beautiful Causeway Coastal Route, and will include a potato producer tour, themed lunch and an opportunity to enjoy a delicious cocktail featuring Ireland’s first potato-distilled vodka.
And headline sponsor Randox will be inviting visitors to the event to step onboard its Mobile Health Clinic, a bespoke Mercedes Benz vehicle which has taken the company’s revolutionary ‘health MOTs’ on the road.
Randox Founder and Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald, said: “The sponsorship of the Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival means a great deal to Randox and we are delighted to be able to bring our Mobile Health Clinic to an event which is so well-known in the area, attracts an impressive number of visitors, from both near and far, and has such a dedicated and enthusiastic committee.
“Just like the festival committee, we at Randox are dedicated to supporting local quality produce, evidenced in our production of meats, jams, chutneys and apple juice straight from Dundarave Estate in Bushmills and CherryValley Estate in Antrim.
“ The local community has played a significant role in the successes of Randox over the past number of years and we believe it is important to give the same support and encouragement back wherever we can.”
Festival Committee Chairman Michael McKillop, Glens of Antrim Potatoes Ltd, said: “This year the committee has worked tirelessly to bring a bigger and better potato festival to the North Antrim coast on the site of the Giant’s Causeway. We have more fun-filled events planned with loads of arts and crafts on site and fantastic local chefs doing cookery demos. Along with a free open day to the Causeway Centre, it will be a great family day out.”
The festival has also benefited from financial help from The National Trust, Glens of Antrim Potatoes, NI Regional Food Programme (DAERA), Jamison Potatoes, McCurdy Potatoes, Wilsons Country, Manor Fresh, Active Packaging, First Trust Bank and Food NI.
Mr McKillop added: “I would like to thank the National Trust for their continued support. The National Trust is a key partner and sponsor for the Potato Festival, not only opening up the Giant’s Causeway site but giving their staff to co-ordinate the activities .“