Excitement as 50th Music Festival opens
The grand opening of Arklow Music Festival took place on Sunday and set the tone for a magnificent 50th anniversary event.
St Mary's College Hall was packed to capacity for the event which heralded the start of 10 days of musical competitions and entertainment throughout Arklow.
This year's festival runs until Sunday, March 10 and is one of the best supported to date with thousands of entries received by the organising committee.
The launch event was a celebration of everything that is to come over the next week and during the event a special presentation was made to Arklow lady Sadie Fitzgerald in recognition of her contribution to Arklow Music Festival.
Sadie is the only living founder member and was honoured at the launch with the presentation of a framed poem and a specially commissioned 50th anniversary pin.
Similar pins were also presented as mementos of the anniversary to current members and volunteers.
This year's festival was opened by Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District Miriam Murphy who paid tribute to all those who work tirelessly to make it happen, and spoke of what an important annual event it is for the community of Arklow.
To celebrate this anniversary year, a special photography exhibition is taking place at Arklow Library during March which details the festival through the past five decades.
Local businesses are also taking part in a shop window display competition.
The festival celebrates a wide range of the arts from choral music to Dán Gaeilge, action song, violin and piano and schools drama.
A panel of independent judges will assess the performers and a number of accolades are up for grabs including the premier overall award, the Kennedy Award and the Wadden Bursary.