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“Buy your ducks!” Village’s Easter tradition returns again this year

Afon Heulyn has been host to a North Wales village’s tradition for decades

lots of plastic yellow flowing down a river

Ducks racing on the Afon Heulyn, y Felinheli. Permission to use given by Gŵyl y Felinheli.

Whilst the Canadian capital of Ottawa has in the past laid claim to the first ever rubber duck race in 1987, it was in fact the north Wales village of Dyserth that first held such an event. In 1980, a charity rubber duck race was held by the local pub landlord on the Afon Ffyddion, and since then, the unique fundraising method has spread across the globe.

And one north Wales village in particular has held such a race for decades.

Gŵyl y Felinheli is a 9-day-long festival on the shores of the Menai Straits, held annually to bring the community of y Felinheli together. And whilst the festival enjoys the support of locals every summer, fundraising is a year-round effort, and their annual duck race is always a favourite.

The race’s concept is simple. Residents from the village, as well as their friends and family from across the world buy a plastic duck. Up to 1,000 numbered ducks are released into the Afon Heulyn in the village on Easter Monday, and the person who bought the duck that crossed the finish line first wins £100.

Prior to the race itself, families with young children are invited to Cae Seilo, the local football team’s playing ground for Easter-themed games including an easter egg hunt and an egg-and-spoon race. The activities are free and offer every child an opportunity to win an Easter egg.

A spokesperson on behalf of the Festival said:

“It’s a fun, creative way of raising vital funds for the Festival.

“Ducks are for sale up until the day of the race and are available from Committee members as well as during the children’s games on the day itself. Alternatively, contact info@gwylfelin.org.

“Croeso i bawb!”

Gwyl y Felinheli’s Easter Celebrations will be held on Easter Monday, 1 March. Easter games for the children will start at Cae Seilo football pitch at 10:30, with the duck race to commence over the road on the Afon Heulyn at 12:00. If there are poor weather conditions the duck race will start at 10:30.

For updates, follow the Facebook event page.

Festival Chair issues statement thanking villagers for “unwavering” support.

Staff behind the Gwyl Y Flein sign

Islwyn Owen is chair of Gŵyl y Felinheli, held in the village that lies on the banks of the Menai Straits

Saturday saw the culmination of more than a week of activities held by the festival committee in the marquee, and today the festival’s chair has issued a thanks to residents of the village whom without their support, the Committee’s work would be “impossible.”

Islwyn Meredydd Owen said:

“For me personally, and for many others, 2023’s Festival will be remembered as a particularly special occasion.

“The festival returned to the marquee on the banks of the Menai Straits with eight days of activities, a combination of both old favourites as well as newly thought-up activities.

“The Bavarian-inspired bierkeller was a particularly popular addition!

“Some of the Festival week’s staples such as the Quiz and the Bingo were busier than ever, and the Marquee was packed. All the Noson Lawen tickets had been sold early in the week as well.

“The Stomp, the chapel service, the yoga, the school show, the treasure hunt, the dance sessions, the 10K race and the day for the elderly also attracted a very good crowd.

“It’s difficult to cover the Festival in its entirety in as little words, but I must refer to the element of visual art that was introduced to the festival’s site this year, under the direction of some of the new members of the Committee. By drawing the children and young people of the village together on the first Saturday of the Festival, a burst of colour and excitement was brought to the day of the Carnival.

“Tribute must be paid to the whole Committee for their enthusiasm, hard work, and ideas. I’d like to thank every volunteer that showed up during the Festival week as well. And I must take the opportunity to thank our Sponsors and the Friends of the Festival as well.

“But the greatest thanks go to the people of y Felinheli, for their unwavering support every single year. You are the people who make Gŵyl y Felinheli such a remarkable, unique festival, and without you, our work would be impossible.”

Holiadur Gŵyl y Felin yn fyw!

(Translation coming soon..)

Sut ydach chi'n teimlo am Ŵyl y Felinheli?

How do you feel about Gŵyl y Felinheli? Did you enjoy the festival in 2023? Are there things you would change, get rid of, or add?

This is your chance to have your say!
Mae holiadur ar-lein yn fyw, ac mae'r pwyllgor isio clywed eich syniadau!

Dilynwch y ddolen hon i roi eich sylwadau.

“Does this sort of thing exist anywhere else?”

North Wales village’s 9-day-long festival returns

The Eryri village of y Felinheli has a lot to be proud of, from its strong footballing tradition which stretches back to the 1890s, to the fact that it used be an international industrial epicentre, housing a shipping port for the second largest slate quarry in the world at the time.

But y Felinheli’s pride doesn’t just stem from its past, and this month will see village holding its annual 9-day festival of celebration.

Despite the village being modest in size and having a population of around 2,300, at the end of June it will host its annual festival which stretches over 8 consecutive days, with a golf tournament held the weekend prior to the festival officially beginning.

On Thursday 22 June, a large marquee will appear on the village green and the festival, which will start the following day will occupy the shores of the Menai at y Felinheli.

A poetry Stomp, a free sailing session, a German Bierkeller, a festival decorating session, an Oedfa and a yoga session will all take place on the festival’s first weekend. During the week the local primary school will perform their very own show, there will be an on-foot Treasure Hunt, a day dedicated to older residents of the village, a night of bingo, two dancing sessions, the festival’s annual quiz, a 10k race, and live music by the seaside. The festival will end with a Noson Lawen, a night of comedy and entertainment on Friday 30 and the Carnival Day itself on Saturday 1 July. On the final Saturday well-known Welsh artists Bwncath and Morgan Elwy will perform, and for the first time a food village will be on-site.

Committee members admit that Gŵyl y Felinheli has a long history, and therefore the dates are rather ambiguous. A traditional village carnival preceded the festival in its current form, and the carnival had its roots in the annual Regatta, of which the first was held in 1873.

Committee member Osian Owen said:

“The people of y Felinheli are immensely proud of our community, and the nine-day-long festival is a staple of village life.

“I remember as a child growing up in the village, we had two Christmases, one in December and the other at the end of June.

“Does this sort of thing exist anywhere else? This sort of community-based event, on this scale, through the medium of Welsh?

“Last year we had one hell of a week, coming back for the first time since Covid put a stop our activities.

“And this year we welcomed new members to the festival’s organising committee which brought with them a lot of new, exciting ideas, and we’re looking forward to sharing nine days of events over the next fortnight.

“Homes in the village should receive our festival programme over the next days, and copies will be available digitally and in the village shop.

“We urge locals to keep an eye on our social media platforms to receive the latest information.”

Gŵyl y Felinheli will take place on the shores of the Menai Straits in the village between 23 June – 1 July 2023.



(Date to be confirmed)

Race 10k Gwyl Y Felinheli 2023 Poster

Gŵyl Y Felinheli 2023 10k Race Entries are OPEN

28th of June 2023

Follow this link to register

29.06.22 WEDNESDAY EVENING 10K Race 2022 Entries OPEN

Felinheli 10K Race Information 2022

Gwyl y Felinheli 2022 Programme

10.06.22 Gŵyl Y Felinheli 2022 Programme

The programme for 2022's festival is now available.

Click here to download the programme


Gwyl Y Felinheli 10K Race 2022 Entries OPEN

COVID-19 Statements20.10.21 We're back!

Gŵyl y Felinheli
24 June 2022 - 02 July 2022

- Gŵyl y Felinheli Committee

COVID-19 Statements10.03.21 STATEMENT

In order to protect the public's health, our Comittee have decided to postpone the festival for another year. Although the situation is improving regarding the vaccination program, the Comittee concluded that this was the right decision to make this year.

Thanks for your continued support!

- Gŵyl y Felinheli Committee

COVID-19 Statements19.03.20 STATEMENT

Due to recent developments, we have made the difficult decision to CANCEL this year's Festival, in order to ensure that we do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19 virus. The Festival is currently busy contacting artists and suppliers. Please note that a local group has been set up to coordinate the effort to help those in y Felinheli in need during the coronavirus outbreak. Thank you all for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you at Gŵyl y Felinheli 2021. Take care of yourself during this difficult time!

- Gŵyl y Felinheli Committee

Easter Activities NOTICE17.03.20 Notice

Due to recent developments regarding the COVID-19 virus, it has been decided to CANCEL our Easter Monday activities (13/04/2020), in order to ensure that we do not contribute to the spread of the virus. The duck race has not been cancelled, but will be delayed and held at a later date. We hope you understand the decision. Take care of yourselves during this time.

- Gŵyl y Felinheli Committee


The AGM will be held on the 9th of October in Tafarn y Fic at 7 o clock. Welcome to all.

Gŵyl Felin 2019 10k03.07.19 Gŵyl Felin 2019 10k Results

1. Matthew Roberts
2. Michael Corrales
3. Dilwyn Powell-Jones

Click here to download the full results.

Click here to see more pictures.

Ras Hwyaid Pasg 201924.04.19 2019 EASTER DUCK RACE


1st - Ianto Ap Gruffydd
2nd - Ceri Ann
3rd - Siwan (Lan y Mor)
4th - Carwyn Dafydd
5th - Sarah
6th - Sophie Horan
7th - Jac (3 Aber Cottages)
8th - Iwan Elis
9th - Ioan a Swyn
10th - Beca Coed Menai
11th - Bubs % Chase Me
Last - Elen Hughes

Cliciwch yma i weld lluniau

Application12.04.19 Application for Stall at Felinheli Carnival 2019

Click here to download the application form

poster11.04.19 Easter Monday - 22nd April

Have you bought a duck yet?!

10.30am Cae Seilo Football Field - EGG HUNT

12.00pm Afon Heulyn Bryntirion Lodge (Opposite football field) - DUCK RACE

Purchase a duck £1!

poster13.03.19 2019 10k Race Registration

Registration now open

Click here to download the entry form

Click here for race information

This year we are trying to help the 'Save the Children' charity with their efforts by asking runners to consider being sponsored for the good cause (see flyer for details) - click here

poster05.11.18 The Festival receives a cheque from The Raft Race

Islwyn, Chair of the Festival committee receives a check from the Raft Race committee. Gwyl Felin is very grateful to them for their donation.


The AGM will be held on the 10th of October in Tafarn y Fic at 7 o clock. Welcome to all.

poster09.07.18 Pluck a Duck

Here are the Pluck a Duck winners

Main winner: 483 - Joleen Owen

Other winners:
290 - Gareth Griffith
495 - Trefor Roberts
178 - Ella Catrin
491 - Iwan Bonc
552 - Mari Swyn
881 - Welcome Furniture
25 - Bob Sweet
111 - Carl Fic
528 - Rhys and Karen
267 - Jean Jonsey

poster04.07.18 Gwyl y Felin 2018 10k Results

1. Russel Bentley
2. Martin Green
3. Ifan Dafydd

Click here to download the full results.

Click here to see the photos

rhaglen19.06.18 2018 Programme

The programme for 2018's festival is now available.

Click here to see the programme

poster08.05.18 Local produce FAIR

Local produce night to be held on Thursday the 5th of July this year if anyone's interested in bringing their produce along, please get in touch!

Ras Hwyaid Pasg 201803.04.18 2018 Easter Duck Race


417. Rich a Colleen

691. Martha (Gwion Tegid)
113. Aled Em
30. Scott Williams
804. Welcome Furniture
719. Iolo Harris
151. Julie Horran (Bob S)
732. Lleucu ac Osian
768. Sue Fic
367. Glyn Tan
758. Boris

Booby prize (£10)
184. Gaynor Owen

Click here to see pictures

poster27.03.18 2018 10k Race Registration

Registration now open

Click here to download the entry form

Click here for race information

poster18.01.18 STŴR WRTH Y DWR

STŴR WRTH Y DWR returns to Gŵyl Felin's line-up for 2018!

Following a break for a few years, the festival committee has decided it's time that this very popular evening made a comeback. The evening will be open for anyone to take part, adults and children. Start thinking of ideas!

The event will take place on the first Saturday night, the 29th of June.

Start thinking of ideas!

27.09.17 Gŵyl y Felinheli Annual General Meeting - Wednesday Night 11th of October

The AGM will be held on the 11th of October in Tafarn y Fic at 7 o clock. Welcome to all.

Gŵyl Felin 2017 10k28.06.17 Gŵyl Felin 2017 10k Results

1. Martin Green
2. Owen Roberts
3. Ryan Cain

Click here to download the full results.

Click here to see more pictures.

Gŵyl Felin 2017 10k Results15.06.17 Y Faenol 10k Race 2017 - VOLUNTEERS

Gwyl Y Felinheli are looking for volunteers to be stewards for the 10k race on Wednesday night the 28th of June.

Contact us for more information

Gŵyl y Felinheli Festival 2017 Programme14.06.17 Gŵyl y Felinheli Festival 2017 Programme

The 2017 programme is now available!

To download a copy of the 2017 programme - click here

Golf Competition Tlws Goffa Dafydd Vernon02.06.17 Golf Competition Tlws Goffa Dafydd Vernon

Gwyl y Felin's Golf competition for the Dafydd Vernon memorial shield will be held on Sunday the 18th of June, on Maes Du course, first tee 1.30. Golf, 2 course meal and a bus from Y Felinheli for £45.

Contact us if you're interested, £10 deposit will be required. Remember to invite friends.

CPD Y Felinheli Bierkeller Night05.05.17 CPD Y Felinheli Bierkeller Night

Saturday Night 20th May, 7.30pm

Memorial Hall, Y Felinheli

Tickets: £15

Click here for more information

Contact CPD Y Felinheli to buy tickets

2017 Easter Duck Race18.04.17 2017 Easter Duck Race


29. Karen Balwns

69. Christine Griffith
378. Matthew Bee
1075. Welcome Furniture
363. Lorraine Owen
283. Ianto Llywelyn
337. Elgan
440. Glyn Jones
662. Gethin Jones
470. Sharon
30. Steve Mawr

Booby prize (£10)
857. Welcome Furniture

Click here to see pictures

Application04.04.17 Application for Stall at Felinheli Carnival

Click here to download the application form

2017 10k Race Registration13.03.17 2017 10k Race Registration

Registration now open

Click here to download the entry form

Click here for race information


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