independent

Monday 14 October 2019

20,000 at fireworks!

HUGE NUMBERS TURN OUT ON QUAY FOR SPECTACULAR OPENING OF OPERA FESTIVAL

SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE Mary Bridges, Grace Murphy and Isabel Murphy.

THE ANNUAL fireworks display on Wexford's quay front was a night for families. Donning their warmest socks and 'glow sticks', upwards of 20,000 people lined the quay to enjoy the colourful spectacle.

Local couple Lily and Dick Trap from St John's Avenue enjoyed the fireworks with their grandchildren. The couple can fondly recall attending every opera festival opening night since its inception 60 years ago.

Paddy and Ann Browne from Westlands were there with their seven-yearold daughter Leah. Leah said how she had enjoyed the fireworks very much and was already looking forward to next year's.

All the way from New York, Irv Lerner and Irene Farrelly had travelled to Wexford especially to attend the festival on the opening night. Irv had a particular interest in opera; however, Irene was also keen to visit Ireland – the home of her parents.

Prior to the official launch by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the crowd was treated to a sample performance by percussionists from the orchestra. Orchestral musicians Caitriona Frost and Chris Stynes said that because they spend most of their time in the pit, 'it is nice to see what happens out on the town'.

Artistic director David Agler proclaimed how it never ceases to amaze him how Irish people don't realise the international recognition which a festival like this receives. The Guardian newspaper described it as 'the most important rare opera festival in the world'.

One aspect to the festival which is more likely to hit home to the people of Wexford is the significant boost it gives to the economy.

Wexford Festival Trust chairman Peter Scallan explained that the festival is responsible for creating direct and indirect employment. He urged the crowd to recognise that over 1,000 people weren't able to attend the fireworks because they were working, in bars, hotels and takeaways.

And he reminded everybody not to forget about their rissole and chips on the way home. THE ANNUAL fireworks display on Wexford's quay front was a night for families. Donning their warmest socks and 'glow sticks', upwards of 20,000 people lined the quay to enjoy the colourful spectacle.

Local couple Lily and Dick Trap from St John's Avenue enjoyed the fireworks with their grandchildren. The couple can fondly recall attending every opera festival opening night since its inception 60 years ago.

Paddy and Ann Browne from Westlands were there with their seven-yearold daughter Leah. Leah said how she had enjoyed the fireworks very much and was already looking forward to next year's.

All the way from New York, Irv Lerner and Irene Farrelly had travelled to Wexford especially to attend the festival on the opening night. Irv had a particular interest in opera; however, Irene was also keen to visit Ireland – the home of her parents.

Prior to the official launch by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the crowd was treated to a sample performance by percussionists from the orchestra. Orchestral musicians Caitriona Frost and Chris Stynes said that because they spend most of their time in the pit, 'it is nice to see what happens out on the town'.

Artistic director David Agler proclaimed how it never ceases to amaze him how Irish people don't realise the international recognition which a festival like this receives. The Guardian newspaper described it as 'the most important rare opera festival in the world'.

One aspect to the festival which is more likely to hit home to the people of Wexford is the significant boost it gives to the economy.

Wexford Festival Trust chairman Peter Scallan explained that the festival is responsible for creating direct and indirect employment. He urged the crowd to recognise that over 1,000 people weren't able to attend the fireworks because they were working, in bars, hotels and takeaways.

And he reminded everybody not to forget about their rissole and chips on the way home.

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