It’s finally here: Castleblayney 400 Fair Day
As the final few days fast approach to the recreation of the traditional Fair day hosted by Castleblayney 400, the members of the committee are busy putting the final touches in place for the activities and events to be held in the town this Saturday the 28th of September.
The festivities begin on Friday night at 8pm in the Glencarn Hotel when local historian and Town Mayor, Gary Carville presents a talk on the history of our amazing wee town. This will be followed by a great evening’s entertainment from three times winner of the ‘Bard of Armagh’ competition, Patsy O’Hagan. This event promises to be both educational and entertaining, and we guarantee that you will leave the hotel both wiser and happier!!! Admission to both talks is only €5 and a raffle will be held on the night for some lovely prizes.
The Saturday events will commence at 10am when several local photographers will be recording the street scene in all its glory, as the Main Street will be dressed to replicate the olden days on a Fair Day. The committee will be working hard from dawn to put all the old carts and other artifacts into place as it would have been witnessed around the 1900’s. There will also be a selection of animals and fowl on the street on the morning as the Fair day was an ideal opportunity to sell your animals and poultry.
We are asking that no cars or vans be parked on Main Street overnight on Friday the 27th, as our committee will be putting everything into place in the early hours while the rest of the town will be still sleeping. The public’s help with this request will be very much appreciated.
Throughout the morning there will be a mystery judge mingling with the crowd and looking at all the fashion. There are prizes for ‘Best dressed Lady’, ‘Best Dressed Gentleman’ and ‘Best Dressed Child’, kindly sponsored by The Nest Box, Castleblayney. So come along and make a big effort to dress in period clothing and you may well be the recipient of these lovely prizes. There will also be a competition run among shops and businesses in the town and prizes given for ‘Best Window Displays’. We hope everyone will get into the spirit of the day and partake in all the activities as Border Region TV are recording the day for prosperity.
During the day the public will have lots to entertain them with a selection of stalls on the street supplied by local businesses as well as crafts people from far and wide, displaying, demonstrating and selling their wares. There will also be lots of activity as a group of local children from Castleblayney College, together with their English & History teacher, Angela Hanratty, will be demonstrating a variety of children’s street games and encouraging everybody to join in. We would like to say a ‘big thank you’ to Angela and the students for all their hard work in the last number of weeks. They have been very busy researching the games and making the props. There will be a very special guest appearance on the day for two men who never really grew-up. Tommy and John McArdle will be popping in on the day to join in the fun and games and you may even get a peep at their knobbly knees!!! This should be happening around 12 noon all going to plan!!!
The Keady Road Bowls club are coming along and running a competition from the Keady Road up into the town. Anyone interested in joining in and learning how to bowl, please gather at the back of the Market House at 11.30am.
The ‘High Nelly’ workshop will be happening throughout the morning, so come along to learn how to fix up that old bicycle in the garden shed that used to belong to your father or grandfather.
There will be a great atmosphere in the Glencarn Hotel at lunch-time, with the winners of the schools ‘Poetry’ competition reciting their poems to the diner’s as they enjoy a sumptuous lunch. There will also be a collection of old-fashioned items on display and a talk about ‘A Day in the Life of my Granny’, by Florence Creighton, from Co Fermanagh. The committee would also like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick McFadden and his staff from the Glencarn Hotel for all their help in the organisation of the Fair Day.
The rest of the afternoon will also have lots of activities around the Main St, and in the grounds of Hope Castle. There will be Blacksmith and Tinsmith demonstrations and a large display of Vintage Tractors, and agricultural memorabilia. There will also be thrashing in the grounds of the Castle. All this is possible with the help of Blayney Vintage Club, Sean Moen, Clontibret and John Keenan, Lisdoonan. The committee would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all involved for their time and dedication. There will also be a vintage tractor pull in the afternoon with teams representing some of the pubs in the town. There may also be other competitions held during the day, depending on interest.
Liz Christy from Swallow Studios in Annyalla will be resident in the Credit Union all day, demonstrating her skills on the Loom, so visit her and see how her beautiful scarves and shawls are made. Paddy McGeogh from Oram will also be located here with his vast selection of old gramophones. Thank you to the Credit Union for the use of your premises and your kind sponsorship towards the day. Other members of Liz’s family will also be involved recreating the skills of the cobbler and the weigh-master.
There will be a wide variety of music, storytelling and dancing to entertain the visitors throughout the day, with Anna Sheridan and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann playing in the Credit Union, a group of musicians from Scotstown as well as Set Dancers from Eigse Oriel and dancers from the Blayney Dancing Schools. There will also be three Pipe Bands marching in the afternoon around 4pm. These are from Clontibret, Lisnagrieve and Aughnamullen. Again ‘thank you’ to all musicians, dancers and storytellers for giving up your time so freely, it is much appreciated. We are also inviting people interested in coming along on the day to busk on the street, to please phone Cathal on 086 0341654 or email firstname.lastname@example.org All the activities, entertainment and games will be announced as they happen by ‘Town Cryer’, Paddy Crilly.
Throughout the day the local businesses will be getting into the spirit of the Fair Day, with music and entertainment in many pubs and good old-fashioned food on the menu in many of the cafes and restaurants. So you will be coming away from Blayney educated, happy and full to the brim.
Finally, we are putting out one last shout for anyone who is available on the Friday evening or on the Saturday at any time to please contact Cathal on the above number or just turn up and make yourself known to any member of the committee. All help will be greatly appreciated, so come along and help out in whatever way you are able to, from stewarding, to help set-up, to cleaning up after the event!!!