Durrow will this Sunday be transformed into a magical wonderland and home to some of the most unusual scarecrows in the country, when the Howya Festival kicks off with a family fun day from 2pm on the village green. The festival will be running throughout the week and has a host of activities to suit young and old.
Already the festival is causing a stir in the village, with people stopping to take photos and see what is happening. The deadline for entries has now passed for the All Ireland Scarecrow Championships and organisers are delighted with the level of entries this year, with more than 150 scarecrows taking to the streets. Included in the entries are Where’s Wally, Jackie Healy Rae, a weatherman and some couples getting up to no good! There will be many more scarecrows on display throughout the village, all as diverse and imaginative as last year.
Sunday’s family fun day will be held in celebration of International Parents Day and everyone is invited to bring their own picnic to
the village green. Also on the day there will be entertainment for kids, jarvey tours of Durrow, kids talent and fancy dress competitions, a flower demonstration and the Moyne Polo Club annual summer competition. Monday and Tuesday will be the start of a busy week of exhibitions and workshops in the specially built scarecrow village. Everything happens in the heart of the village including rush work, the art of thatching, decoupage and card making, marquetry and wood inlay, hurley making and walking stick making. The village also includes a play area for children.
The second part of the week has the same tone with a few extra workshops, such as puppet and mask making over two days, African drumming, basket making, straw dolly craft, the history of bow making, traditional butter making. There will be a diverse range of events happening over the week, including a high nelly bicycle rally and a duck derby on Wednesday, festival hurling and soccer tournaments, a Leafy Loop Walk as part of the Laois walks festival, a table quiz on Friday and a family fun cycle on Saturday.
The two-day open-air country market will take place over the bank holiday weekend with cookery demonstrations from Pat Carey from Doon House Cookery School on Saturday. On International Friendship Day on Sunday July 31, the reveal of the winners of the scarecrow competition will be done in a lively village punctuated by the rhythm of Tupelo and the 2011 Young Voice of Laois winner Aine Delaney. As well as this, the Woodenbridge Paddlers will be hosting a canoe regatta.
The pubs in Durrow will have music and entertainment all week, including a fun obstacle course where teams of four will compete (register at 087 919 4428, E20 per team), and music from Na Fianna, The Kilkennys and Shambles, as well as a wild west night and skittles and pool tournaments. For more details visit www.howya.ie.