This June bank holiday weekend, members from all over Ireland will descend on Athboy, Co Meath, for the 30th anniversary of the Blue Jean Country Queen Festival.
Organised by Meath Macra na Feirme, the festival will welcome 30 contestants, who will all be hoping to claim the title of Blue Jean Country Queen 2017.
The first Blue Jean Country Queen Festival took place in 1987.
The idea came from Carnaross man, Patrick Farrelly, who, according to legend, was driving his tractor when he heard the song I’m a Blue Jean Country Queen on the radio.
The businesses and local community in Athboy work closely with the festival’s committee to ensure its continued success.
The festival is sponsored by Athboy Credit Union and will begin on Friday, June 2.
Across the weekend, there will be a host of family-friendly events and live music, including a performance by Trevor Smith and Friends in Low Places — The Ultimate Garth Brooks Experience.
The contestants will head to the Causey Farm Experience for a team-building exercise as part of the festival, which will be officially opened by Tina Growney, Athboy community Person of the Year, on June 2 in the Darnley Lodge Hotel.
Joe Healy will interview the 2017 contestants on stage in front of a packed house before a winner is crowned.
On Saturday, June 3, the annual street carnival and craft fair will take over the main street of Athboy from 1pm until 5pm.
There will be a Great Blue Jean Bake-Off, a children’s drama workshop, sideshows from the nine Meath Macra na Feirme clubs and local community groups, as well as musical performances.
A 30th anniversary celebration, featuring music by DJ John Bird and memorabilia from the festival down through the years will also take place on Saturday.
Sunday’s Lark in the Park will get under way at 12.30pm in the Fair Green, Athboy, and the queens will swap their heels for the football boots, in a Reeling in the Years fancy-dress football match.
Along with the title of 2017 Blue Jean Country Queen, the winner will receive €1,000 in prize money, sponsored by Athboy Credit Union.
The runner-up will be awarded €500 from Forefront Nutrition, while the contestant in third place will receive €300 from M&G Groundworks.
This year’s festival will be judged by inaugural Queen Samantha Baldwin, who returns to Athboy for the first time since she won the competition in 1987.
Samantha, who now lives in the UK, expressed her delight at being asked to judge: “I never thought I would be asked to be a judge at the 30th festival. It is a great honour and privilege.”
She will be joined by returning judge John Conway, a former Macra Leinster vice president and John Thompson from the Ulster Young Farmers Clubs.
Speaking at the launch, festival chairperson Aiveen Cully-Dunne said: “We’re excited to welcome this year’s Queens and would like to thank our sponsors, especially Athboy Credit Union, the community of Athboy and members of Meath Macra for 30 years of fantastic support for our festival.”
For more information on this year’s festival, tickets and accommodation options, visit www.bluejeanfest.com, and see BlueJeanFest on both Facebook and Twitter.
search Facebook www.facebook.com/BlueJeanFest; twitter.com/BlueJeanFest