IT IS the party that has been years in the planning -- but it now looks set to happen while most of the country sleeps.
The boats on the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race are expected to reach Galway between midnight and 6am on Tuesday.
But organisers insisted yesterday that the unsocial hours won't spoil the celebrations.
"A lot of parties will only be finishing up at midnight and then everyone will come down to the docks," said John Kileen, of Let's Do It Global. "We'll keep the party going. Galway has become the Woodstock of Ireland at this stage."
The unexpected early arrival is not the only headache facing the organisers as torrential rains left the site for the Global Village partially waterlogged.
But a quick call to the army and disaster was averted. Members of the Defence Forces came to the rescue, gathering up 450 metres of tracks from the Curragh and Athlone and swiftly transporting it to Galway.
There it was quickly inserted under the Global Village in what is known locally as "The Swamp".
"They arrived at 6am on Friday and spent the day laying it down. They really are saviours," Mr Kileen said.
But while the weather may not be living up to the heady days of 2009 -- the last time the event was in Galway -- that is unlikely to put a damper on the atmosphere.
Crowds of up to 800,000 are set to descend over the nine days for the event.
The Defence Forces will also use the event to work on its culinary skills, after volunteering to feed the army of helpers.
In total there are 1,800 helping out at the event.
Over the nine days, spectators will be able to enjoy 267 events, including 42 water events.
One of the highlights of the festival will be a fireworks display to mark US Independence Day on July 4.
For a full list of events visit www.volvooceanracegalway.ie