What began as a community festival some years ago has evolved into a one of national acclaim.
Now in its fourth year, the Durrow Scarecrow Festival has been the focus of much media attention over the past 12 months and was nominated for ‘Best Festival of 2012’ in the Irish Times Ticket Awards. The festival also features in the Irish Times ‘Top 20 Fun Filled Festivals of Summer 2013’ and Sunday Times ‘Best Festivals in Ireland 2013’.
The festival which has become synonymous with great family entertainment, value for money and maybe just a ‘touch’ of quirky madness, is home to the All Ireland Scarecrow Championships. The international competition which sees over 150 scarecrows compete for the title of ‘All Ireland Scarecrow Champion’ is fiercely contested with a prize fund of €3,000 up for grabs with the overall winner receiving €1,000. (A special international category has been added this year in celebration of The Gathering). With national media attention firmly focused on the festival it is expected that this year’s entries will exceed previous years in both number and standard. Entry costs €20 (€5 Youth – Under 16) and forms can be downloaded from www.durrow.ie or entries can be done online. The winner of this coveted title will be announced on Sun 4th August at 4.30pm.
In addition to the competing entries, Durrow Development Forum, who organise the festival, have created over 100 display scarecrows including the unforgettable ‘Scarecrows on the Beam’ which once again overhangs the wall of Castle Durrow and ‘The Rock Station’ display on the Abbeyleix Road will be home to a famous ‘Boss’ for the duration of the festival.
The festival which will take place from Sunday 28th July to Monday 5th August has something for everyone and will see the return of many favourites and the addition of new events for 2013. Back by popular demand are musical acts ‘Adela & the Meanits (Sun 4th) and Woodbine (Sun 28th). There will also be a performance from Young Voice of Laois 2013 Sarah Luttrell (Sun 4th). There is hardly a child from the area who doesn’t recall the thrill of the IwW Wrestling Warriors who will once again take to the ring on Mon 5th August (show every hour from 12.30 – 5.30pm).
Street Entertainers will once again be an integral part of the festival’s weekend entertainment; Stan Ratchet ‘Super Steward on a Mission’ will perform two shows on Sun 28th, Jecca the Clown will join in the festivities on Sat 3rd and Monsieur Gusto ‘Juggling Escapologist’ will perform two shows on Sun 4th. Bare Soled Fools Theatre Group will also provide ‘walk-about’ entertainment on Sun 4th.
Craft workshops have always been a popular choice during the festival and will return once again this year to include Mosaic, Ceramics, Bath Products/Balms, Rush Work, Card Making, Wood Turning and Hurley Making. (Full details of the workshops and booking details are available on www.durrow.ie). Since the brochure went to print more workshops have been added to include Balloon Modelling (suitable for adults & children) on Mon 29th at 7pm; Crafts on Wed 31st at 7pm and Cake Decoration on Thurs 1st at 7pm.
The ever popular Children’s Festival Summer Camp will take place in the Scarecrow Village from Monday 29th July – Friday 2nd August from 10am-1pm and will provide children with a host of different activities over the week including: Clay Modelling, Pottery, Kindermusic, Drama, Sports, Arts & Crafts and much more. This year every effort will be made to ensure that all materials used for Arts & Crafts will be recycled material. The closing date for applications was July 19th but it may be possible to book after this date if spaces are available. (Please contact Marie on 087 9800090).
An Arts & Crafts Exhibition will be held each day in the Community Centre and the Courthouse Museum Exhibition – ‘Durrow of Yesteryear’ will be open to the public on Sun 28th, Sun 4th and Mon 5th. The Outdoor Market (food and crafts) which always draws a large crowd will be held on Sun 28th (11-5pm), Sat 3rd (10-5pm) and Sun 4th (11am-5pm). Aghaboe Carriage Driving Club will provide tours of the scarecrow trail on both Sundays and are always a big hit with young and old. Monday 29th will see the local Senior Citizens enjoy a ‘Night of Nostalgia’ in Castle Durrow from 7.30pm. On Tuesday 30th, Harps GAA will line out for a hurling match in their club grounds at 7.30pm.
This year’s Durrow Scarecrow Festival is going to be the biggest and best yet. Full details are available on www.durrow.ie where you can download the programme of events etc. This festival offers superb value for money with general admission to the Scarecrow Village being Adults €2, Teenagers €1 and Children Free (with the exception of Fri 2nd – Children €1 after 6pm; Mon 5th – Adults & Children €3). Opening times of the Scarecrow Village are as follows: Sun 28th 2-7pm; Mon – Fri 2pm -9pm, Sat 3rd 10-9.30pm, Sun 4th 11am – 7pm and Mon 5th 12pm – 6pm...but remember the streets of Durrow will be lined with scarecrows so even if you can’t come during these times, you can still soak up the fun.
Durrow Development Forum would like to acknowledge the support of Laois Partnership Co., Laois County Council, The Gathering Fund and the local sponsors and supporters without whom this festival would not be possible.
All monies raised from the festival will go to meet the community’s share of the cost of the Durrow Square Regeneration Project.