Durrow will be one of the few villages in Ireland to buck the emigration trend, when later this month over 120 scarecrows will take up residence in the village for the Durrow Scarecrow Festival from the 28th July – 6th August.
Formerly known as the Howya Festival, this year’s festival promises to be the biggest and best yet. With a recorded attendance in the purpose built ‘Scarecrow Village’ last year of over 10,000 people, the festival is fast becoming one of national acclaim. This unique festival which is becoming synonymous with family fun and value for money is organised by the Durrow Development Forum with the very valued financial assistance of Laois Partnership and Laois Tourism.
The main attraction of the festival is of course the scarecrows competing in the All Ireland Scarecrow Championships. With a prize fund of €3,000 of which €1,000 will go to the overall winner, competition is bound to fierce. This competition is open to all so if you think you have what it takes to create an All Ireland Champion log onto to www.durrow.ie to see how you can enter.
The festival will kick off this year with a ‘Scarecrow Hooley’ in the Castle Arms Hotel on Sat 28th July. With music by The Works, fancy dress optional, scarecrow dress desirable, clothing essential and dancing compulsory, it is sure to be a great night. Sun 29th will see the opening of the purpose built Scarecrow Village... a must see for locals and visitors alike. The afternoon’s entertainment will include the Big Family Picnic with music by Woodbine, Arts and Crafts, Hurley Making demonstrations, Children’s Disco, Street Entertainment and much more. For those who like to travel in style, Aghaboe Carriage Driving Club will be giving tours to view the scarecrow lined streets of Durrow on Sun 29th and Sun 5th Aug from 2-4pm. For the more energetic on Sun 29th there will be a 10km Leafy Loop Run at 12pm and a 16km Leafy Loop Walk at 2pm both commencing from the Castle Arms Hotel.
It will be a jam packed fun filled week of entertainment in Durrow with a full programme of events being offered each day. The Festival Summer Camp will return on Monday 30th until Friday 3rd. (Pre-booking is essential see www.durrow.ie). An Art Exhibition by Local Artists will take place in the Community Centre each day from Sat 28th from 2pm-5pm. Craft workshops will also take place throughout the week including Rush Work, Mosaics, Pottery, Knitting, Basketry, Samba Drumming and much more. There will also be information sessions on Composting, Reducing Household Waste and Bee Keeping to name but a few. Full workshop listing on page 30.
A Buy & Sell Fair will take place in the Scarecrow Village on Mon 30th July to Fri 3rd August which will enable stall holders to sell unwanted items and buyers to pick up a bargain. Stalls cost €15 per day or €60 for the week. A special treat for flower arranging enthusiasts will be the demonstration by local florists Oliver and Martin Lawlor in Castle Durrow on Wed 1st at 7pm. The evening will begin with a guided walk through the beautiful Castle Gardens with resident gardener Bart. Admission €8. Thursday 2nd will see the return of the popular Duck Derby which will take place at 7.30pm on the River Erkina at the Old Bridge. This is always a very enjoyable event for young and old alike so come along and place your bets!
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