ENNISCORTHY'S STRWBERRY FEST
THE ORGANISERS of Strawberry Fest 2011 have taken a 44 year old tradition and given it a really good shake up. The scope of the annual fair has been broadened with a host of big name acts coming to the Showgrounds on the Ross Road. Crowds of 5,000 can be accommodated each day of the weekend, from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26.
It all makes an exciting change from the traditional venue of recent years in the confines of the Market Square. This time, the night will be lit up by the Coronas, top of the bill on Friday; by Ali Campbell's UB40 on Saturday and by Cry Before Dawn with the Saw Doctors on Sunday. Throw in Eurovision twins Jedward on Sunday afternoon for good measure.
All told, 17 acts will perform on the big stage over the three days, from the Screaming Vegas on Saturday, through to the Saw Doctors last thing on Sunday. Local entertainers such as the Hush Crew hip hop dancers, All-Ireland talent show winning Daniel Furlong and teen rockers Thunderstruck will be mixing it with the likes of Ryan Sheridan and the outrageous Rubberbandits.
The action in the Showgrounds, where McFadden's always popular funfair is setting up shop for the duration of the festival, is on offer at remarkably good value. A weekend VIP ticket costs €30 (with shelter guaranteed in the event of rain). Tickets for Jedward have been selling like hot cakes at €10 each, while Ali Campbell's UB40 performance will cost just €20. Most of the action will actually be free of all charge.
Meanwhile, the town of Enniscorthy will welcome one and all to join in a full programme of events around the streets. One of the principal attractions is the All-Ireland farmers' market championships which takes place in Abbey Square on the Sunday. The public houses – of which there is no shortage – are pulling out all the stops to provide alternative entertainment, including a singing pubs competition.
With items such as children's entertainment in the square, a canoe race on the Slaney, an exhibition of stamps in Upper Weafer Street and the annual show of superb photographs by the Enniscorthy camera club in Friary Place, there really is something for everyone in the mix.
In the midst of all the excitement, the strawberry has not been forgotten, with plenty of fruit on offer, while the tradition of choosing a Strawberry Queen will be honoured, as always.