“Attention all passengers, a food demo is now taking off at Departure Gate 2, while a cheese tasting is checking in at the Arrivals Hall” – Welcome to Ireland’s first food festival in an actual airport.
The everyday airport facilities at Sligo Airport are about to be taken over by food, drink and entertainment for all the family.
The airport, situated in the coastal surfing village of Strandhill, is to stage the inaugural Strandhill Food Festival, turning its baggage reclaim, departure gates and airport bar into unusual venues for cookery demos, food and drink tastings and live music acts.
The idea for the Strandhill Food Festival in the Airport is the brainchild of local man, Allan Mullrooney, who for three years has hosted a Sunday Strandhill Peoples Market in the airport’s Hangar 1.
Commercial flights once operated between Sligo and Dublin, Manchester and Luton. Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Aer Arran all operated different routes before Government subsidies were withdrawn.
Though the last passenger flight departed in July 2011, aviation activity has continued, and with planes and helicopters taking off and landing just metres away, the Sunday market has become a must-visit for tourists and locals alike.
Now the organisers are hoping the Strandhill Food Festival will become a hot new annual destination. Strandhill Food Festival organiser Allan says: “We’ve invited the best foodies, chefs and producers to Sligo for one day to educate your palates, share delicious recipes and discuss the latest trends, challenges and opportunities in food. There will be live music and family fun events throughout the day.”
He also said: “Just over three and a half years ago, we were searching for a more permanent home for the weekly market. The beachfront area which they had operated at for 4 months had proven to be the best place in the world on a sunny day, and the worst place on the windy stormy days that we’re used to along the west coast!
Once we set their eyes on Hangar 1 at Sligo Airport, we knew this new base would offer an opportunity to grow and progress. Over three years later and the weekly event contributes over €30,000 to the local economy every week and has seen several cafe’s open as a result and countless new business startups.
The Strandhill Food Festival is the next chapter in this project and one the team have been working on for some time. This one day event will see the bar re-open for the first time at Sligo Airport since that last commercial flight in July in 2011.”
On October 7th, award-winning Sligo brewery The White Hag, alongside The Draft House Gastropub, will bring some of Ireland’s finest craft beers and gins back into the airport bar – the perfect room with a brew.
The event runs from 12-8pm with live music all day, kid’s entertainment, food demos and more. Kids go free and adults cost €5.
Tickets can be purchased at www.strandhillfoodfestival.com or on the door on the day.