Monday 19 August 2019

Minister Paul Kehoe to launch 50th Strawberry Fair in Enniscorthy

ABOVE: Cry Before Dawn; BELOW: Anne Doyle.
ABOVE: Cry Before Dawn; BELOW: Anne Doyle.
ABOVE: Cry Before Dawn; BELOW: Anne Doyle.

By Esther Hayden

The 50th Strawberry Festival will be officially launched on Tuesday, May 16, at 8 p.m. in Treacy's Hotel, Templeshannon.

Minister Paul Kehoe will launch the festival programme and the focus of the festival this year will be on free outdoor entertainment with rock group 'Cry Before Dawn' bringing the June Bank Holiday weekend festival to a close on Sunday night, June 4.,

This will be the group's first appearance at the Strawberry Fair and they are sure to attract a capacity crowd to the Market Square.

The Strawberry Fair and Street Rhythms Festival will take place officially from Friday, June 2, to Sunday, June 4, but festival related events will begin some days earlier with the Golden Ball banquet in The Riverside Park Hotel on Wednesday, May 30, a highlight not to be missed.

This year's Strawberry Fair Princesses will be introduced during the ball and many former Strawberry Queens are also expected to attend. Tickets for the ball are presently on sale and as demand is certain to outstrip supply so those wishing to attend are advised to purchase their tickets early in order to avoid disappointment.

'Wrecking Ball' will provide the music for the event and their programme of music will be followed by a late night disco.

Former RTE newsreader and Wexford Ambassador, Anne Doyle, a native of nearby Ferns, will officially open the Fair on Friday night, June 2.

A nostalgic trip down memory lane is promised as Anne interviews a number of former Strawberry Queens and asks them for their recollections of the year they won the coveted title.

The official opening will be followed by a dance routine from the programme of the Street Rhythms Festival which will, in turn, be followed by the winning show from this year's Carlsberg sponsored Pub Talent competition.

A total of 20 licensed premises from across the Enniscorthy district have entered for this year's event which will get underway next Monday night, May 15.

Andy and Norma Doyle, two highly influential individuals from the world of drama and entertainment, have been appointed adjudicators for the talent competition which is always keenly contested and hugely entertaining.

The Slaney Inn, Oylegate, winners of the competition for the past two years will be trying for three-in-a-row but they will face stiff opposition from other previous winners including Doyle's, The Still, Enniscorthy, and Ryan's of Galbally, Ballyhogue.

Pub entertainment will feature strongly this year with the Strawberry Fair Roots Festival, also sponsored by Carlsberg, taking place in more than a dozen venues throughout the town over the entire bank holiday weekend. 'Two-Time Polka' is just one of the many groups appearing, alongside the John Prine Tribute Band, 'Hanky Panky who perform the songs of the late and great Hank Williams and 'Kiss My Grass' who are renowned for their blue-grass sound.

The All Ireland final of the Country Markets will take place in the Abbey Square on Sunday, June 4, and will carry a prize fund of over €4,000 with the winning food producer receiving a cheque for €2,000 along with the magnificent IFA sponsored trophy.

The Waterford Cut Glass piece is valued at between €3,000 and €4,000 and last year's winners, Joe and Caroline Rigney from County Limerick will be back with their range of beef and pork products in a determined bid to retain their title.

Between 50 and 60 food producers are expected to participate in this year's final of the All Ireland Country Markets.

The Abbey Square will also host an array of amusements this year including a vintage carousel and a Ferris Wheel giving the Fair a more family fun appeal.

Wexford People

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