The world-famous Giro d’Italia will race through Larne on Saturday May 10, and Larne Borough Council is planning 12 days of activities to mark the once-in-a-lifetime event.
Celebrations will kick off at Larne Museum and Arts Centre on Victoria Toad, which is holding a Cycling Exhibition from May 1 until June 1. The exhibition will feature existing museum displays as well as new artefacts donated by local people.
Music lovers will be well catered for with a free ‘Pop-Up Pop-In’ Outdoor Opera providing ‘the Jewels of Italian Arias‘ at Broadway Bandstand, Main Street on Friday May 2 at 7.30pm. The open-air musical extravaganza, hosted in conjunction with Opera NI, will see the Broadway Bandstand being turned into an Italian Piazza.
The festivities continue with a Carnevale Parade on Saturday May 3 from 2pm-4pm in Larne Town Centre. Street entertainers, bands, performers and uni-cyclists will parade down the main street, entertaining the public. There will also be a fancy dress bicycle parade at Broadway Bandstand. Meanwhile, families are encouraged to take part in the Illumination Bike Ride on Sunday May 4 on Larne Main Street between 8pm and 9pm. Creative cyclists can decorate their bikes with LED lights and glow sticks. Main Street will be closed to traffic, and a free ‘Bike Check-Up Workshop’ will be provided by Larne’s Team Madigan club members at the Quay Street/Main Street Junction.
Additionally, a Pink Family Bike ride will take place on Monday May 5 between 2pm and 4pm on Larne Promenade, starting from the leisure centre. The Belfast ‘Playbus’ will arrive between 12 pm and 1.30pm, and is sure to be a hit with younger children.
On Saturday- Giro D’Italia Race Day- Larne Market Yard will be turned into little Italy from 12pm, with a special Italian market and entertainment including a BMX display by the East Coast Raiders. There will also be food, circus performers, live music and live screening of the race on big screens. It is expected that the race peleton will come through town between 3pm and 4pm.
Road closures and diversions will be in place during race day. Spectators are advised to park in carparks around Victoria Road, Redlands Estate, and arrive before mid-day!
Additionally, from April to June PVC cycling sculptures will be given to local artists and schools to decorate in their own style. Once completed, these will go on display throughout the borough and a map of the unique bicycle art trail will be created. When this outdoor exhibition has finished, the sculptures will be auctioned off for charity. Sculptures can also be sponsored, with proceeds going to charity.
Local primary schools are also getting in on the Giro action with the ‘Design a Cycle Jersey’ competition. Templates of a cycling jersey were given to all primary school children in the borough. Thousands of entries were received, and the winners are: Kate Ewings from St Anthony’s Primary, Ciara Gault from Larne and Inver Primary School, Ciaran O Neil from St John’s Primary School and Abbey McKeown from Olderfleet Primary School.
These winning designs will form part of the Cycling exhibition during the festivities, before being framed and presented to the winning schools. All other entries will be on display at Larne Tourist Information Centre from April 1 2014. Some entries will be displayed at Larne Visitor Information centre in April. Four winners will have their entries made into a presentation jersey for their school.
Local Community Festivals have been confirmed for Carnlough, Glenarm, Ballygally, Drains Bay, Glynn Village and Larne Rugby Club and Ballycarry. So make sure you turn out to support these local events-and don’t forget to wear pink!