The festival that keeps on going!
Published 09/08/2014 | 00:00
'We are running on a shoestring but morale is good,' says Eileen Aroon festival chairwoman Barbara Anne Murphy, 'and it is bringing people into the town.'
The event first hit the streets of Bunclody back in 1988 when music was played in The Square and one of the highlights was a cycle race.
The festival been constantly re-invented since, though the selection of a festival queen is a perennial favourite.
This year, a dash from the seaside to the Mill Race Hotel, with a quick makeover along the way, proved worthwhile for Lisa Bolger as she was crowned the winner for 2014..
The teenager from Ballycarney was collected by her mother Liz from the windswept South Beach in Arklow, where she has been working this summer as a lifeguard.
Mother and daughter stopped at a filling station along the way to tidy up and then Lisa was ready to make her mark with unruffled aplomb at the Mill Race, where she was elevated to festival royalty.
She represented Glamourize hairdresser's at the event, which was decided after an interview with the judges followed by a public appearance on stage with master of ceremonies Seamus Walker.
Due to start her Leaving Cert year at the FCJ next month, she was joined in the winners' enclosure at the Millrace by Daniel Moore from Ryland Road, who was named as the best escort.
Lisa, who has ambitions of becoming a primary school teacher, must balance the demands of her new regal role as festival queen with the call of the sea.
She is a member of the national surf life saving squad and trains under the direction of coach Lar O'Connor with her Wexford club mates on Curracloe beach three evenings a week.
Meanwhile, other festival favourites include the pub quiz and pub talent competitions.
Long serving quiz master Liam Martin has made way this year for three replacements - Pat O'Toole, Joe Murphy and Gary Murphy, who will preside over the final at the end of this week.
Meanwhile, the adjudicator in the talent event has been engaged in a marathon trawl of licensed premises, facing a tricky choice picking winners from so many performers in so many different genres.
'The idea is the get people out on nights when they would not otherwise be out in town,' explained the chairwoman.
She was delighted to note the full houses greeting the summer comedy production by the Kilmyshall/Bunclody drama group on stage in Redmond's, starring Timmy Connaughton under the direction of Mary Gibson.
With no budget for bands, most of the activities over the weeks of the festival are indoors. However, she stressed that not all the venues are pubs, with the public library, for instance, stepping in to provide a location much of the children's entertainment.