THE clouds parted, the sun shone and the streets pulsed to a tribal beat - Puck Fair, edition 399, had the perfect launch on Friday evening.
Killorglin's defining event attracts interest worldwide thanks to a goat, a pulley and three days of revelry to accompany the occasion.
As The Kerryman visited on Friday evening, Gathering Day is in full swing, the Coronation Parade snakes over the Laune Bridge and the triumphant ring of bagpipes resounds over The Laune. Hours earlier horse traders had hoofed along that same road, trekking uptown to watering holes and discussion of a morning's trading back in Evans' field.
By 6pm there's an eclectic gathering, locals, expats and tourists line the streets cheering colourful floats and awaiting a first glimpse of 'Paul' the Goat, named after the similarly bearded Kerry GAA star. Goat-catcher Frank Joy duly obliges the awaiting photographers, the new king is ushered into his temporary palace and hoisted high into the Killorglin air.
Various accents watch on. "Oh My Gawd, it's awesome", remarks one American. Nearby there's a European tourist, possibly Germanic. The language is indecipherable but there's no mistaking the intonation and it's one of confusion.
Queen of Puck Claire O'Sullivan, watches on, a chorus of An Poc ar Buile sounds out and Puck has officially begun. Below, the crowds disperse and return to investigating the vast array of stalls.
Everything is on sale and that's no exaggeration. There's the practical - extended hedge trimmers for those extra tall shrubs, syphoning pipes and saws. There's the 'new age' - dream catchers, henna tattoos, copper bracelets and braiding.
There's the downright worrying - toy replica AK47s. And there's there's everything else in between - chester hats, brightly coloured hammer balloons, face painting, industrial glue, potato peelers and even Kerry GAA door mats, ideal for Donegal fans.
An assault on the senses, there's all kinds of food too - curry chips waft in the air, popcorn, beefburgers and even barbecued kangaroo.
There's more than a few John Joe Nevin fans around too. Adorning tight white tee shirts, they're a uniform for the Mullingar man's many, many fans.
Meanwhile, the sun has caught many by surprise and several vendors on Main Street have turned a bright shade red and while factor 50 has since been administered, it's merely damage limitation.
Over at Library Square there's an array of bric a brac and a large screen takes pride of place, replaying images of the morning's horse trading.
Around the town there's plenty of volunteers heping to fundraise including the Killorglin Rowing Club's raffle and a collection for Abbeyfeale Search and Rescue.
In The Chapel on the Hill, hard working volunteers are busy raising thousands of euros for the Irish Children's Pilgrimage Trust. Cheap at half the price, a scone, jam and butter sells for a euro, cup cakes for two.
Donned in bright purple, the many cyclists who made the high-profile journey from ' Trafalgar to Puck', are a reminder of the Cystic Fibrosis effort too.
An impressively organised fair, there's plenty of entertainment too. At Library Place, 'Monsieur Will' hangs upside down in a straight jacket as the crowd counts down, the Fanzinis and the Wibbly Wobbly Circus also add to the mix. There's the Bonny Baby Competition, Fire Shows, Drum Dance Ireland and plenty of workshops.
Later on Friday there's music to The Electric Ceili Band, on Saturday it's Friends in Low Places and stage truck welcomes The Camambert Quartet on Sunday evening, all the way from The Late Late Show.
By Scattering evening Paul's gone back to the hills, the music winds down and the celebrations are on hold for another year when a 400th tribal beat will again sound on the streets of Killorglin.