This Saturday sees The Stove Network’s seventh staging of Nithraid, Dumfries’ River Festival, which is a fun free family event that takes place on and around the River Nith.

This year’s event starts off with three races leaving Carsethorn; one for sailing boats, one for coastal rowing boats and one for other types of craft – each racing up river on the highest tide of the year to finish in the town centre, as well as the Salty Coo procession which is being led this year by young artists from Blueprint100 with local community groups.

Mark Zygadlo, Nithraid Race Organiser, commented: “It is really exciting to see the race continue to grow and change with each passing year, especially with the addition of coastal rowing and other types of craft to this year’s race. Nithraid looks to create a bit more recognition for the river as such an important part of our town.”

Nithraid River Festival is a celebration of the town’s long relationship with its river, highlighting the way the Nith connected Dumfries to the rest of the world through trade, goods (including Coos) and sail power. It is created and produced by The Stove Network and is part of the group’s mission to make creative opportunities for local people to be involved in the future of Dumfries.

Nithraid 2019 Team

The Salty Coo Procession will leave Fountain Square at 11am, parading through the town centre and arriving at the Mill Green at approximately 11.30am. Every year, the Stove offers the opportunity for young artists to join the team to reinvent the Salty Coo Procession and put their own stamp on part of the town’s cultural calendar. This year’s procession is being led by Blueprint100, an open and inviting group who provide creative experiences and opportunities for young people under 30. Over the last 3 months, they have been working with various local community groups and organisations to create banners and flags to be used in their ‘powerful communities’ procession which celebrates the people of Dumfries.

The boats are expected to start arriving in the town centre from 12.45 and the much-loved highlight of the ‘Dunking of the Salty Cow’ is scheduled for 2.45pm.

While waiting for the boats to arrive, you can enjoy the Nithraid Village at Mill Green (opposite Whitesands), from 11.30am (and open til 5pm). On the Nithraid stage, there will be live music from Freya Cloy, Ra, Corrie Russell, Kate Kyle, Tiderays and Kash Nichol. There will be free activities and kid’s workshops from Battle Stations, Blueprint100, Creative Futures, Hidden Histories, Dumfries Hunters American Football Team, Freelance Ranger and Upcycled World. There will also be food and drink available to purchase from Tatostix, Roan’s Dairy Milkshake Bar, The Sly Fox Vegan Food Van, The Pizza Wagon and The Stove Café.

Nithraid Nighttime returns for its third year and this year includes a specially commissioned light installation called ‘Nithlight’ (from 8pm), which visitors can view from close up on the Mill Green and across the river. Local pubs are also getting involved with the evening activities and will be hosting an array of local music acts around the town, including Tam’s Twin Sister at the recently renovated Douglas Arms on Friars Vennel, Michael Grant at The Lantern, The Mind Sweepers at the Queen of the South Bar, Loose Wheels at the Riverside and Daz McCormick at The Stag.