MONASTEREVIN is the place to be this Sunday (14 July) – the inaugural Monasterevin StreetFest kicks off in the town as a destination event for all ages.
The day will begin with a walk with local historian Barry Walsh, meeting at 10.30am at the community centre, on the town’s trading and market history. That will be followed, at 11.45am, by the unveiling of a wall mural by local artist Paul Woods while the festival itself will begin at noon.
Whelan Street will be pedestrianised for the event with the help of local gardaí, and decorations – imaginative creations and installations made by local groups and individuals from recycled, upcycled and recreated items – have been strategically placed around the town.
The People’s Market will be on-hand with a variety of traders and their unique handcrafted items – from soaps and china to cards and chocolate. The Craft Tea Cup Café will also be available for refreshments while Monasterevin Youth Action will be running a barbeque and raising funds to help open their premises later this year.
No festival is complete without music and entertainment, and the StreetFest will showcase the talent in the area and across the county. Local legends Mick, Mike and Mary will sing and entertain the crowds, followed by dancers from the Lisa Lawlor School of Dance, while Panthers Gymnastics from Kildare town will demonstrate their flexibility and athletic skills on the indoor stage at the community centre. Keep an eye out also for a special performance from the Newbridge Gospel Og junior choir, among others.
If you’re a fan of illusions (not tricks), 3pm marks the start of magician’s hour, featuring an outdoor, interactive show for the young and old alongside a performance from the mischievous Jeca the clown. The festival will also feature a celebration of Irish culture with the local Morrissey School of Irish Dancing, the Comhaltas group from Portarlington, and a pop-up Gaeltacht.
“These are all voluntary, community groups who have come onboard, who answered the call for help,” explained Jacinta Kenna from the People’s Market, one of those involved in the organisation of the festival.
Many more activities and events are earmarked for the day, including face painting, a kids’ play tent, demonstrations from the fire brigade, community first responders, and Bernard Gibney of Gibney’s Garden Preserves, alongside a uniform swap hosted by the local girls’ primary school – you can pick up a school tracksuit, skirt and jumper for a €2 donation.
The Community Spirit Awards will take place at 4pm, honouring volunteerism and heroic acts with fourth worthy winners to be announced, while an open mic session kicks off at 5pm with a chance for young and old to share a story, perform a song or tell a joke.
“Often it’s very difficult for young performers and people starting out to stand in front of a big audience,” said Jacinta. “But we’re a very friendly group and it’s a great experience… it’s a great learning curve for young musicians to come and have a go and see how they get on in front of their audience and practice their tunes.”
The plan is that StreetFest will be the first of many and the organisers have described it as a wholly community project driven and funded by a range of community groups, namely the community centre, the People’s Market, the Lion’s Club, Monasterevin Credit Union, the Knit and Natters, the older people’s group and many others.
“Come and support our community,” Jacinta said.
For more details, check out @MonasterevinStreetfest on facebook.