50,000 attend Sea Bangor Festival hosts Northern Ireland Armed Forces Day
Fantastic experience for all involved in Sea Bangor and Armed Forces Day NI
50,000 visitors flocked to the seaside town of Bangor, Co. Down this weekend to celebrate Northern Ireland Armed Forces Day (Saturday 24 June) and enjoy the popular maritime Sea Bangor Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
Visitors enjoyed a programme of military activity that wouldn’t normally be seen by the public, giving an insight into the work of the armed services and also celebrating and honouring those who serve. With highlights including the official regional Armed Forces Day military parade through Bangor town centre, incorporating a special Drumhead Service and Flag Raising.
Specialised military vehicles were also on show alongside other military regalia and visiting sister Tall Ships Lady Avenel and La Malouine were moored at the Eisenhower Pier alongside a naval P2000, as part of the Sea Bangor event, which is organised by Ards and North Down Borough Council and sponsored by Tourism NI.
Cookery demonstrations, food stalls, street theatre and other maritime-themed family entertainment made for a great day out. Children and adults alike explored the scientific wonders of the maritime and wider world at The Sea Science Hub; The Shanty Shack music tent kept all ages entertained with a mix of performers playing everything from Bluegrass to rock and roll; and the Sea Bangor rowing challenge proved as popular as ever. The Open House Festival Choir, Bangor Grammar School Jazz Orchestra and Los Anigos took to the main stage on Sunday afternoon, before Dana Masters performed a superb set that wowed the crowds.
Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Robert Adair, welcomed day trippers and tourists to the borough. He said:
“The weekend’s events were even more successful than we anticipated, with more than 50,000 people attending over the course of the two days. There was something for everyone, with a combination of parading, music, food, military demonstrations and kids’ activities. The picturesque setting of Bangor seafront, overlooking Belfast Lough, provided a fantastic backdrop for all the events but especially the aerobatic spitfire display. The weekend demonstrated the skills, strength, and capability of our armed forces and it was a great honour to be part of it.’
Stephen Reid, Chief Executive of Ards and North Down Borough Council, added:
“It was incredibly humbling to watch military, past and present, parade through the town together to take part in a Drumhead service on Saturday. This was a fitting tribute to those who have served, and continue to serve, our country in often difficult circumstances. It was a very proud day for Ards and North Down Borough Council and one that I am sure will be remembered for a long time to come.
The Council is committed to regenerating its town centres by increasing visitor numbers and today’s event was a prime example of how it is working to achieve this. I was delighted to see Bangor so busy and visitors and residents enjoying a great weekend.”