Showing how it’s done: Anthony Flynn, Templeglantine and Francis Foley, Strand competing in last year’s churn racing competition in Strand | Picture: Dave Gaynor
WHILE other, bigger communities may have fallen by the wayside when it comes to annual festivals, the tiny community of Strand are able to keep its festival at the top of the agenda.
This weekend, the Strand Harvest Festival takes place for yet another year, bringing people together, welcoming back those who have left and holding out the hand of friendship to all to come and join them.
“It is a big undertaking for a small place but it brings a bit of life into the place for the week,” says Liam Herlihy one of the members of the small but very positive organising committee for the village which is a few miles outside Newcastle West.
The festival also plays a very important role throughout the year, by providing the funds needed to keep the Rambling House in good order and the village in tip-top shape.
The festival kicks off this Friday with rosary at the grotto and a Rambling House session and runs until Sunday evening with a range of traditional family and fun entertainment.
Saturday evening will be a packed evening with the hugely popular Road Hurling starting the entertainment at 7pm, with hurling from Monagea uphill to Strand.
This will be followed by Churn Racing. “Last year was our first time and it turned out to be very good. It was good fun,” Mr Herlihy said.
At 9pm five, well-known characters take to the open-air stage in a bid to win the title the Baron of Strand.
Each of the five will be interviewed live on stage and will be invited to do a party piece and a lot of good-natured banter and heckling from the audience can be expected.
The five are Michael O’Connor, Granagh, Davy Mann, Rathkeale, Sean the Beaker O’Mahony, Tournafulla, Eddie Prunty, Broadford and Diarmuid Shanahan, Barna. The title comes with the bonus of a new suit, courtesy of Ian Scanlon’s Menswear, Newcastle West.
The entertainment will continue until late in the night with music from Eire Ceol on the open-air festival stage. Sunday will see a traditional field day with a donkey derby, a tug-of-war, stalls, children’s entertainment and more. There will also be a Vintage Run in aid of Milford Care Centre, starting at noon with registration at 11am. There will be a warm welcome for all comers at any or all the events, Mr Herlihy says.