51st Birr Vintage Week shaping up to be action packed and fun filled

Email:

karen.ogrady@midlandtribune.ie

What is your vintage? Well, you will be able to find out soon with the official opening of the 51st Birr Vintage Week and Arts Festival this Friday.

With just a few days to go, the excitement has been building all week in town, bunting is up, shop windows are decorated and a myriad of exciting and interesting events, exhibitions, concerts, and displays are stretching out from Friday, August 2 until Saturday, August 10.

Birr Vintage Week is a community event and organisers are calling on people to help out over the forthcoming week in a number of roles including festival intern, stewards for both the weekend market and Sunday's parade, exhibition sitters, volunteers for parade entries, bucket collectors on Sunday as well as people to help with barriers on Sunday morning and evening.

If you have time to spare during Vintage Week, why not come along to the volunteers meeting this Wednesday, July 31 at 8pm or send festival organisers a message with your availability.

Speaking at the festival's recent programme launch, co-chair of the 2019 event, Danielle Rock Kealy stressed the important of having man power to assist with the running of the festival and encouraged people to give of their time. She also encouraged everyone to enjoy their Vintage. “Enjoy your festival because this is a community festival and it's all about the town of Birr,” she enthused.

Looking at this year's programme, the launch of the open submission exhibition will take place on Friday at 8pm in Oxmantown School, Hall while a 5km run, from Birr Rugby Club kicks off at 7pm while the 'Music 'n' Movies' Sing Along table quiz takes place in the Chestnut, a fundraiser for the Offline Film Festival.

Light is set to play a huge part in this year's Vintage Week. Take the opportunity to firstly experience the magical light trail in Birr's inaugural Window Wanderland, which also kicks off on Friday. Get the map on your phone and take a dusk to dark walk around the streets of Birr between 9pm and 11pm.

A dark space exhibition of works, entitled 'Ghost Light' that use light as their primary medium will be unveiled in the Vaults under the Maltings and will be open daily from 1.30pm to 6pm and then from 9pm-10pm on several evenings of the festival.

The Food and Craft fair has become a firm favourite of the Birr Vintage Week calendar and kicks off in Green Street on Saturday, August 3 at 10am and runs until 6pm. There'll be a wide range of arts, crafts and cuisine on the day. This year, organisers are delighted to welcome a traditional basket weaving display from Basketry Barry and everyone is welcome to come along and experience this, all day. The fair will also take place on Sunday, August 4 between 10am and 6pm with the inaugural 'Birr Brown Bread Bake-off' competition.

This brown bread making competition is open to everyone and submissions can be made to the Sinn Fein offices by 11am with judging at 1pm. Organisers are looking for your twist on local soda bread. The winners recipe will be sold in local coffee shops during vintage week with proceeds to winner's charity of choice.

The 51st Vintage Week is holding its yearly parade on Sunday, August 4 and is open to the public to celebrate everything vintage for an afternoon of family fun. The streets will once again come alive with funky entertainment in all guises suitable for any and every member of the family. There will be everything from samba drums, a convoy pipe band, outrageous banjo playing pirates and even the fantastic native sound of the brass band Banna Chluain Meala!

Also on offer will be fantastic street theatre involving local kids and adults (and you too if you wish to join!) dressed in festival costume and make-up. This exciting and colorful display will be a treat for those involved and those looking on. And that’s not the end of it — there’s even stilt walkers and balloon artists to wow the kids in all of us.

Adults and children are needed to participate in Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival Vintage Sunday parade. All costumes and make-up provided for this fun-filled event that reaches across the generations for the whole family to enjoy. Don yourself in classic attire and brighten up the streets of Birr as you march proudly through the town showing off the style of yesteryear.

Refreshments will be offered for adults and each child will receive a goody bag.

All who participate will be entered into a draw for Lunch For Two at the picturesque Red Apple Café in Birr town. Come along to the Marian Hall at 1pm to be involved or contact (089) 4362420 with any queries.

There will be vintage cars galore along with old tractors and trucks and the traditionalists among us will be thrilled at the display of steam engines and old-style horse-drawn carriages.

The 9th Birr Airshow and family fun will take place on Monday, August 5 and promises to another great day. Ireland's biggest overland air display will feature jets, historic planes, aerobatic display teams and helicopters. Wingwalkers, Rich Goodwin, P51 Mustan, Strikemaster Jet Coastguard helicopter and much more will be part of the most incredible air show ever over Birr.

As the week progresses, there will be a huge variety of shows, exhibitions, events, lunchtime concerts and displays at various locations throughout the town and full details are in this year's festival programme, available around the town or by visiting www.birrvintageweek.com. There will also be a variety of night time entertainment in the local pubs. So, don't forget to check out 'What's going on in the pub' in this year's programme.

The much loved gig rig and fireworks display will once again take place on Thursday, August 8 where there's be a field of family fun, bouncy castles, face painting and live music with Divine Intervention, RFC BBQ. This event kicks off at 7pm at Birr Rugby Club, Practice Pitch.

Acclaimed Irish opera singers, Celine Byrne and local man, John Molloy will perform a magical evening of opera, musicals and vintage songs, 'Songs for a Summer Evening' and thrill music lovers alike in St Brendan's Church, Oxmantown Mall, Birr on Friday, August 9 at 8pm. They will be joined by special guests Andrew Synnott (piano) and Lynda O'Connor (violin).

The ever popular 'Dancing at the Cottages' will also take place on Friday, August 9 between 7.30pm and 10pm. Presented by Birr Tidy Towns, this much loved event will be held at the Burke's Hill Cottages with a BBQ, trad music and lots of dancing on the night. So, don't miss out!

The Crinkill Soap box Derby and Family Fun day will be held on Saturday, August 9 and it promises to be bigger and better with a lot more entries and course modifications to keep both the drivers and spectators on the edge of their seats throughout the event.

The family fun day commences at 2pm with the first car scheduled to go down the hill at 4pm. 'Rock on Paddy' will provide outdoor entertainment immediately after the race, with more music and craic to follow, well into the evening. For full details of all the week's events, please check out the festival's programme or www.birrvintageweek.com.

Meanwhile, people are ask to note there will be no parking on Green Street on Saturday and Sunday and also along Main Street on Sunday to facilitate the parade. Emmet Street will also be closed during Sunday's parade.

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