THIS June bank holiday weekend will see Abbeyleix turned into a hub of art, music, colour and celebration as the much anticipated Abbeyfest returns to the town. Now in its fourth year, the festival will take place from Friday June 1 to Sunday June 3, a hive of family focussed activity, including street entertainment, music, children’s theatre and mouth-watering food events.
The highlight of this year’s festival will be Family Fun Day on Sunday June 3 which will present some of the finest street entertainment in the country. From the high flying trapeze act Barren Carousel to the hilarious antics of Lords of Strut and the Fanzini Brothers the festival is
guaranteeing a fantastic and side splitting afternoon of entertainment.
The afternoon will also feature cookery and baking demonstrations by acclaimed chef Pat Carey and the public will be invited to submit their baking wares for the now annual baking competition. Also in store will be clowning workshops for families, craft workshops for children, archery, hot air balloon rides, vintage, baby massage classes, bouncy castles, face painting and more.
As always entertainment for children is very much at the heart of the festival programme. The Gombeens will be back with their delightful children’s show Spraoi, this show will be followed by a fun theatre workshop. The craft makers of the future will be catered for with ceramic and print workshops and budding young writers will be able to take part in creative writing workshops. Well loved and highly acclaimed children’s author Judi Curtain will read to the children of the town’s two primary schools on Friday June 1.
Visual arts play a significant role this year with an exhibition by Carlow based illustrator Derry Dillon in the Library, a visual/craft group exhibition at the back of Bramleys and an exhibition by the students of the Further Education Centre in Moynan’s. The newly reformed Laois Craft Group will make a welcome visit to Abbeyleix this weekend at both the farmer’s market and the fun day on the Sunday.
There will also be a comedy evening featuring Totally Wired, Mark Doheny, Adam Cullen, Stephen Bennett and Linda Meehan. Another festival highlight is the presence of tenor John Scott in town. Formerly of The Irish Tenors, John will roam the streets of Abbeyleix popping up in unlikely locations to treat people to performances.
As always the pubs of Abbeyleix will come alive with a full programme of music running throughout the weekend. Live performances will take place in Macs, The Heritage, The Market Square, Bennys, The Horseshoe, Macs and Morrissey’s as well as cafes, street busking, the youth cafe. See the venues’ Facebook pages for more details.
Abbeyfest is very much a festival earthed in the community and many community groups including the Abbeyleix Bog Committee, Grow it Yourself, the GAA, the Farmers Market, the High Nelly group, youth cafe, vintage group and many more will be making a very colourful contribution to the weekend’s festivities. Abbeyfest is funded by Laois Partnership, and organisers are grateful to everyone involved in making this festival happen. See next week’s Leinster Express for more information.