A multi-million euro spending spree across the county effectively began last night (Wednesday) with the official opening of the Castlerea Rose Festival, which was attended by huge crowds. As the Bank Holiday weekend gets underway, a host of festivals and events are taking place in the region during what promises to be one of the busiest weekends in the year. Businesses throughout the county will hope that the annual festival extravaganza will have tills ‘hopping’ with spending expected to run into millions of euro over the traditional peak festival season of August. A hugely colourful parade in Castlerea last night got the Castlerea Rose Festival off to an exciting start and Rose Festival events continue tonight (Thursday) with live pig racing and the Rose of Castlerea event in River Island nightclub on Friday night. Castlerea Agricultural Show takes place on Monday. Ballygar Carnival gets underway tonight (Thursday) with lots of great music free on the street and top bands in the complex nightly. Bagatelle, The Conquerors and Dublin City Ramblers are among the top names at this year’s Carnival and Monday’s country fair day in Ballygar is also a popular day out. The O’Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival in Keadue also takes place this weekend. Highlights include the official opening on Sunday by Seán Ó Neachtain MEP and the annual lecture which takes place at noon on Monday next. Boyle Arts Festival has been running all week and Boyle Music Fest is about to begin. A Roscommon Races meeting takes place on Tuesday next. Meanwhile, further details of the line-up for this year’s RosFest in Roscommon town (August 10th – 12th) have also become available. See pages 24 – 27.