IF ever an event was suited to the core ethos of the 2013 Gathering it is the Mallow Racing Home for Easter Festival.
Established in 2010 in a bid to encourage the native diaspora to return home to celebrate Easter, the festival has already proven hugely successful, drawing thousands of people to Mallow over the bank-holiday weekend.
Such is its appeal people have flocked to Mallow from all over Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe and North America to join in the fun and experience the sights, sounds and smells of Mallow, and generating more than €750,000 in revenue for the local economy.
Already plans are well underway for next year's festival, with organisers keen to expand its homecoming theme to tie in with The Gathering. One significant change is that in 2013 the festival will be extended over five days, from March 30 to April 2.
In keeping with preparations to mark the bi-centenary of the birth of Thomas Davis in 2014, the festival committee have organised workshops and talks about Davis and other historical figures from Mallow.
Festival chairperson Mary Kelly promised that the festival will incorporate a host of surprises, which will be unveiled in the months and weeks leading up to the event.
"The original concept of the festival was to encourage people who have moved abroad to come back home. This ties in really neatly with the whole idea of The Gathering 2013 and we want to encourage people to come to Mallow and enjoy this wonderful event with us," said Mary.
"Everyone in the town can do their part by inviting people from North Cork who are living abroad to come back home and help showcase the Racing Home Festival across the world," she added.
Mary also appealed to people to lend their support by joining the festival committee.
To find out how you can help contact Mary at the Cork Racecourse in Mallow on 022 50260.