‘Queen Of The Sea’ Set To Be Youghal’s Best Festival Yet. – By Christy Parker
YOUGHAL’S 2011 QUEEN OF THE SEA FESTIVAL was officially launched in the town hall reception area recently. Details unveiled at the launch revealed a highly impressive effort to bring to the town a festival in the total meaning of the term, with a multitude of diverse attractions in waiting. The weather…the blessed weather is all that’s needed. .
Organisers, business people, politicians and –mercifully- the more eye-catching presence of 35 young female representatives of various local businesses, attired summer fare, gathered for the launch. The occasion was smiled upon by blue skies, enriched by a solo harpist and complimented by wonderful food. The omens are good!
Following some time for social interaction, the 50 plus attendance turned their attention to the podium, from where Queen of the Sea Chairwoman Sally Tivy-Perks and Youghal Mayor Eoin Coyne delivered words of faith, hope and encouragement, as did Sinn Fein TD Sandra McLellan and Eileen Harney, liaison officer with the RNLI, one of two organisations –along with Childline- being supported by the festival.
Mayor Coyne, in his first official engagement since his elevation to the chain, expressed himself said the festival, which enjoyed great success in its inaugural year of 2010, was already “fast becoming the pinnacle of the summer festival season” in Youghal. The mayor gave credit to “the Youghal Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Youghal Town Council, the YSEDG and the organising committee” for bringing the festival to fruition. He wished the queens the very best of luck and wished “locals and tourists alike,” much enjoyment over the festive weekend. Enthusiastic applause followed the conclusion of his maiden mayoral speech.
The chairwoman then thanked further sponsors, including 96FM and SECAD before handing the microphone to Ms Harney. The officer explained that the lifeboat service’s survival is immensely reliant on the support of local communities. “We receive a tiny amount of government funding,” she revealed before explaining that the RNLI needs €3m annually to stay afloat, so to speak, almost all of which comes from voluntary contributions. She said had “the best job in the world” working for an organisation of whom 97% of its members (1,600), “are fundraisers.” In considering itself effectively “a family organisation,” she said the RNLI would ensure that those attending the family festival would be afforded a warm welcome, including harbour tours.
Three festivals in one
The Queen of the Sea Contest bears much resemblance to that of the world-famous Rose of Tralee in that it is a contest for young ladies, from whom the winner is chosen according to her hopes, dreams & ambitions and her attitude toward social responsibility.
Sally Tivy-Perks then gave a summary of the programme of events –expanded from last year- that the festival intends to deliver. Effectively, she said it was three festivals in one, comprising the Queen of the Sea Contest, a Youghal Food Festival and a ‘Myrtle Groove’ Music Festival.
The festivities commence with the Myrtle Groove gig on Nealon’s Quay at 3 pm on Friday July 15th, wherein various live bands will entertain throughout the day. The ‘groove’ will persist throughout the weekend in what marks a serious upgrade in Youghal’s provision of musical entertainment. Along with local artistes, Cork’s 96FM Gig Rig will play live from the Market Square, KILA will perform on Nealon’s and there will be music and dance of a traditional genre also. A ‘Mardi Gras’ Parade featuring the queens will traverse the town at 7 pm that night.
The Youghal Food Festival will be officially opened by the Celebrity TV Chef, Rachel Allen. There will be a farmers’ market, cooking demonstrations, teaching and tasting events. Throughout the three days, there will be breakfast, brunch, lunch and snacks available all made from local produce with lots of choice. Festival menus will be available in local restaurants in the evenings.
Come and watch TV celebrity chef Rachel Allen cut the ribbon for the official opening the food festival and wander through the many food and craft stalls where you can treat yourself to a taste of the finest local produce to be found in the area, Visit Corks 96FM GIG RIG playing live from Market Square, or let the kids join in the fun, and enter the crab catching or the sand castle building competition, join the circus workshop, enter your dog in the Dog Show or join one of the other many fun activities planned for you during the festival.
Enjoy the crowning of the Queen of the Sea followed by acclaimed band KILA live on stage, and enjoy lots of free music all through the weekend on the Myrtle groove Gig Rig. Saturday’s fare includes the Food Festival, which will be launched –if not lunched!- by TC chef Rachel Allen. A multitude of other attractions, including water races and busking, will run throughout the day. The 2011 Queen of the Sea will be crowned at 6.30 on Saturday night, followed by a Queens Banquet at the Mall Arts centre.
Sunday’s many attractions include family races in the Green Park (Spud and spoon, fastest daddy, hairy legs, wheel barrow, three legged, wife-carrying, etc), alongside a dog show and various other entertainments such as wife-ccbucking bronco, obstacle course, face painting, circus workshop and so on and on….
Full details/programme being circulated and available from Youghal Tourist Office; tele: 024-20170 Green Park. Also, visit www.youghal.ie