Portaferry Sails & Sounds Festival Runs This Weekend

Some of the UK’s best traditional boats and sailing yachts are set to be on show this weekend as the Portaferry Sails & Sounds Festival gets underway.

Lovers of folk music and regattas have a chance to enjoy four days of fun as vessels from Isle of Man, Scotland, England and Wales arrive in Portaferry for a maritime display.

From boat tours, raft boating and SUP (stand up paddle boarding) taster sessions for all the family to Irish and performances by the Scottish Highland Dancers, the festival has a wide range of events happening throughout the weekend.

Running from Thursday August 4 to Sunday August 6 the new festival is a rebirth of the annual  Portaferry Hooker Regatta which was a favourite event for classic yachts and traditional boat regattas.

Organisers of the new Co Down festival hope that Portaferry Sails & Sounds will bring back “much-loved elements of the traditional sailing regatta, but with many modern additions and tweaks”. 

Hosted by Strangford Lough, a large shallow sea lough on the East Coast of County Down, the Portaferry Sails & Sounds Festival will showcase on the water a fabulous display of boats of all classes with special category of the Ruffian Boats, sea kayaking and paddle boarding competitive racing along with land and water activities for all the family to enjoy. 

The festival will take place in multiple venues across the town, featuring sporting events, as well as cultural and community events including guided walking tours, fashion and make-up evening, busking competitions, farmer’s markets, and art and craft exhibitions. 

Gourmands and cooking fans are also awaiting a happy time with food foraging and cooking demonstrations available during the four days of festivities. Highlights of the festival include Ulster Scots and Irish Dancing exhibitions, historical re-enactments and street theatre.

Supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Tourism Department, the Northern Ireland Old Gaffers Association has teamed up with Portaferry Sailing Club to re-invent the traditional sailing regatta.

Throughout the weekend visitors will be able to see racing, parades of sail and Skiff racing.

For more information go to portaferrysailsandsounds.com