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A very warm welcome awaits you in Donegal Town on the Wild Atlantic Way to the Premier Food Event “A Taste of Donegal Food Festival 2016″. As we approach our 8th Birthday this has become the must attend Food Extravaganza Party of the North West equally rivaling the major Food Events on the Island of Ireland. From humble beginnings we now attract Food Lovers from all over the world to our beautiful tented village on the Pier in Donegal Town with the backdrop of the Blue Stack Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

This year’s Festival has once again gathered together Top Restaurants, Hotels, Food and Drink Providers. With excess of 120 exhibitors over the course of the weekend you can taste and purchase some of the finest food and drink available from all over the country.

This year we will be enhancing the indoor experience for our Exhibitors and the visiting Public with our new marquee structure. These will be supplied by Eventco and our new partners Coopers Marquees. As I prepare this message we are already at full capacity with an ever expanding waiting list of exhibitors.Over the weekend we will have tutored Wine and Beer Tastings along with Cookery Demonstrations by high profile Celebrity Chefs such as Neven Maguire, Gary O’ Hanlon, Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, Brian Mc Dermott, Edward Hayden, Paul Kelly, Joe Shannon & Frank Forde, Máire Dufficy, Shane Smith, Chris Sandford. We will also have our Local Celebrity Chefs Anthony Armstrong, Martin Anderson, Zack Gallagher, Colin Mc Kee and Anna – Jane Kingston. Our cookery demonstrations will be hosted by the “No Salt Chef” and RTE‘s personality chef Brian Mc Dermott. There will be Masterclasses from Ciaran Kennedy, Suzanne Bogan, Coole Swan, Sian Breslin.

Light entertainment over the weekend will be provided by the timeless music of Dean Martin and The Rat Pack performed by the wonderful Adrian Cullen. You are guaranteed to be entertained by The Singing Chefs with melodic tones that would fill any grumbly bellies! These culinary wizards will sing and play all day and may get a little too close for comfort… but if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Enjoy hilarious side splitting comedy by Irelands Comical Celebrity Chef Joe Shannon & Comedian Frank Forde in our Cookery Comedy Theatre. Maybe a bit of singing and dancing thrown in!! “Everything in the culinary world that you most probably don’t need to know!!

Larger than life stilt walker Lady Longbottom with her old world charm will delight both young and old with her classic style and crowd interaction. Watch your back! No one is safe from a unique roving clown on a mini penny farthing bicycle with sound and special effects. You’ll have plenty of time to get out of the way as you’ll definitely hear him coming! Expect honking horns, juggling tricks and most of all expect the unexpected. Honk Honk! The very popular tenor Eugene Ginty sponsored by Harvey’s Point Country Hotel, and last but by no means least the mischievous Mickey and Minnie who will greet all the children big and small.

We will once again be seeking out the best Chef in the area with our now coveted “A Passion to Inspire 2016 Competition”. The contestants will be tested by a world class judging panel led by our very own Anthony Armstrong C- G WAC, Peter Griffiths M.B.E. President, British Culinary Federation, Bob Mac Donald, C – G Master Chefs of Great Britain, Gerard Molloy The American Culinary Federation. This competition attracts entries from all over the North West Region and may I take this opportunity on behalf on the Committee to sincerely thank all the judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to judge this event for us and of course wish the best of luck to all our participating chefs.

Our Exhibitors will also be scrutinised over the Festival weekend with two competitions. The most attractive stand will be judged by The Local Enterprise Office and the best product will be judged by Bord Bia, LYIT Killybegs and Dave Lang formerly The Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland. Once again good luck to all in these competitions and many thanks to our judges.

This year’s Festival opens on Friday 26th August at 4pm. The Official Opening will take place at 7 pm and our MC for the evening will be TV3’s Star and General Manager of Harvey’s Point Country Hotel, Mr. Noel Cunningham. Deirdre Mc Glone, Harveys Point Hotel “Donegal Person of the Year” will perform the festival opening. Music will be by Adrian Cullen “The Dean Martin Tribute Show”. This will be followed immediately by our first demonstration of 2016 by Gary O’ Hanlon Viewmount House and Colin Mc Kee Harveys Point Country Hotel. We will be treated to a Craft Beer Masterclass with tastings by Donegal Brewing Company. The night will conclude with a fantastic Fireworks display over Donegal Bay.

On behalf of the Committee I would like to thank all our loyal Sponsors, Financial Contributors, Donegal Local Enterprise Office, An Garda Siochanna, Donegal County Council, Fáilte Ireland, The Media, Volunteers and anyone who help to bring this project to fruition.

A Taste of Donegal is truly a food lover’s dream and will showcase Donegal Town and the surrounding area as a region of high quality restaurants and hotels with a vibrant and growing Artisan Food Production Family. All that is left for me to say is come along and tantalise your taste buds and as our caption says , “Discover, Dine and Delight in Donegal Town” over the Festival weekend and indeed every time you visit the region .

All relevant information about this year’s event is contained in this website or follow us on Facebook which is being constantly updated.

Ernan McGettigan