IT promises to be an Easter like no other before in Mallow this coming weekend.
Up to 40,000 people are expected to flock to the town for the fourth annual Racing Home For Easter Festival - generating up to €1 million for the local economy.
The town is buzzing with excitement as it prepares to welcome people from across the globe for the festival, which will kick off on Saturday and run for five, fun-filled and exciting days.
It is apt, given the fact that this is the only event in Mallow linked to The Gathering 2013, that the festival will have an international dimension with people coming from the US, Canada and across Europe to sample the sights and sounds.
Accommodation will be at a premium for the weekend, with local hotels, B&Bs and guest houses reporting that there is hardly a spare bed to be had in the vicinity of the town.
Martha Clarke, sales and marketing manager at the Hibernian Hotel, said they are looking forward to what has become one of busiest weekends of the year in Mallow.
"We are fully booked for the weekend. I have spoken to other places in the Mallow area and they are all the same. The whole town is buzzing and we are anticipating a very busy Easter," said Martha.
"We will be open for business all weekend and are inviting people to join us for food and to enjoy the entertainment we have planned," she added.
Festival chairperson Mary Kelly has no doubts about just how important the festival is to Mallow and indeed the greater North Cork region as a whole.
"Once again we have been working closing with Fáilte Ireland and I think they see the potential that we have in Mallow to create a flagship event for the north of the county," said Mary.
"We expect 20,000 people to come to the racecourse over the three-days of the meet there, with as many as 40,000 people coming to Mallow and the area over the five days. Based on the spend over previous years, we anticipate the festival will generate up to €1 million for the local economy," she added.
Mary said that the popularity of the festival internationally is due to its inclusion on Fáilte Ireland's Discover Ireland events calendar and as part of their Facebook campaign in the US and UK.
"The reaction has been amazing. The number of people liking our Facebook page has grown by more than 3,000 since then," she said.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to promote all that is good about Mallow and with so much going on over the weekend this year's festival promises to be an event not to be missed," added Mary.