Portrush Raft Race will take place on Saturday, May 27 at the Harbour in Portrush as part of a jam-packed Bank Holiday weekend of family fun.
Chair of the Raft Race committee, Richard Connor, said: “We are really encouraged by the number of entries we have had so far, and knowing how many entries come in right until the afternoon itself, I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of healthy friendly competition on the day.”
The dedicated volunteers of Portrush Raft Race Committee have lined up a whole range of events for all ages throughout the Bank Holiday weekend.
The full programme is detailed below, with the lineup including live music, on-board tours of historic lifeboats, a rookie life-guard challenge for kids aged 10-15, a fun dog show and much more.
The weekend’s grand finale will feature Irish magician Rod Hogg attempting daredevil escapology at the harbour.
Sponsors of weekend’s events, Ramore Restaurants, are launching their inaugural Portrush Daft Race on the Sunday afternoon.
Alan Simpson, the now familiar Raft Race commentator enthused: “As the weekend gets closer the excitement grows. With rafts of every shape and size travelling from every corner of Northern Ireland and visitors from far and wide, the town of Portrush comes alive with colour and silliness.
“I would ask that with so much happening over the two days that everyone can give whatever they can to help such a worthy cause. Even the dogs in the street are chatting about Sunday’s fun and with Rodd Hogg bringing his Houdini-like magic to the harbour area, this year’s Raft Race Weekend definitely promises to be Portmagical.”
As well as being enormous fun, Raft Race is an important annual event for the RNLI and all the funds raised by Portrush Raft Race go directly to the local branch.
Richard Connor added: “Each crew member’s uniform costs £2,000, entirely funded by donations. This brilliant family weekend makes it possible to provide the entire North Coast with a year-round invaluable rescue service.”
If you’re thinking of entering, but don’t have the skills to build your own raft there are some available for hire in return for a small donation to RNLI.
Application forms and full entry guidelines can be obtained from www.portrushraftrace.com. Entries stay open until 2pm on race day.
10am - 2pm Registration on Kerr Street Green.
11am Junior Raft Race: One for our Raft Race stars of the future. Fun mini-races in the safety of the harbour. Turn up and register at the pontoon from 10:30am. Entry fee is £2 per child, two kids per raft, with the race taking place in heats.
12 noon - 2pm Lifeboat Tours Past and Present (Harbour Pontoon)
12.30pm - 2pm Rookie Lifeguard Challenge: RNLI beach lifeguards invite kids aged 10-15 to have a go at some basic lifeguarding skills. From a beach start, competitors will complete a short sea swim, followed by a knee paddle on a surf rescue board. The timed challenge will finish with a run along the beach.
2.15pm RNLI Rescue Display (West Bay)
3pm Beach tug o’ war
3.30pm Raft Race 2017 with prize-giving at 4.15pm
11am Welly Wang: All are welcome to come and test their welly chucking skills. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category: under 10’s, 11-16’s, 16+ male, 16+ female.
11.30am Babushka’s Big Dip: Harbour-side coffee shop Babushka will supply those brave enough to swim, dip or bathe in the Atlantic Ocean with warm drinks and tasty treats. In return for a donation to RNLI this exciting new event is open to everyone– wetsuits are of course, optional.
2pm - 5pm Ramore Family Fun Day including Scrufts, a fun dog show and the largest daft gathering of four-legged friends ever seen at the Port; a food, craft and music village and The Great Harbour Escape featuring Irish magician Rodd Hogg.
For full details of all the events, log onto ww.portrushraftrace.com