Athboy will be the place to be this June bank holiday weekend, as Queens from all over the country, and indeed overseas, battle it out for this year’s Blue Jean Country Queen title.
The festival, now in its 29th year and hosted by Meath Macra, will be officially opened at 8pm on Friday, June 2, in the Darnley Lodge Hotel by Jillian Ennis O’Boyle, the current Athboy Community Person of the Year.
The Queens, who will be staying with host families for the duration of the festival, will then take to the stage for their interviews with Master of Ceremonies, Joe Healy.
Following the interviews, there will be dancing in the hotel with DJ Mark Caffery.
On Saturday afternoon, Athboy will spring into life with a street craft fair from 12pm and a street carnival, due to commence at 2pm.
From 5pm, the Queens will sing their hearts out as they take to Flood’s Bar for the festival’s annual karaoke competition. In a new addition to Saturday’s fun and games, the festival’s main sponsors, Athboy Credit Union, will host a barbecue in the credit union car park.
From 9pm, the Queens will lead the way with a stars and stripes-themed night out.
After a hugely successful appearance at last year’s festival, The Madisons will return to perform.
The lead singer is Athboy’s own Nigel Connell, fresh from finishing in third place in RTÉ’s The Voice of Ireland.
Nigel and the guys will take to the stage in the marquee from 11pm, while next door, DJ Mark Caffery will be on the decks in TABU nightclub.
On Sunday, from noon, there will be a heavy dose of childhood nostalgia brought into play for this year’s fancy dress football, as the Queens kick off the “Lark in the Park” at the Fair Green, dressed as characters from Letterland.
There will also be face painting, big slides, and many other sideshows, as well as free musical entertainment from a number of local bands.
During the afternoon on the green, the crowd will have the opportunity to see the Queens modelling jeans and an outfit of their choice. The winner and runner-up will receive prizes sponsored by Staunton’s Pharmacy, Athboy.
Once evening descends, the Queens, their escorts, and supporters will head to the Darnley Lodge Hotel for the festival banquet.
Just before midnight, the Queens will dash off for a quick change back into their blue jeans, and a race down to the festival marquee where the winner will be announced.
She will be crowned by last year’s winner, Susie Manson from Scotland. The winner will receive prizes to the value of €1,000, the title of 2016 Blue Jean Country Queen, and a beautiful, locally crafted tiara. The runner up will receive €500 and the contestant placed third will receive €300.
The judging panel is comprised of Veronica Donohoe, former Macra vice-president for Munster Flor O’Gorman, and John Conway, a former member of Macra’s national executive.
For ticket information, log onto www.bluejeanfest.com
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