‘Christmas-themed’ child pageant may be held in Cork

Organisers of a contentious & child pageant will host a second event in Ireland next month — despite the chaotic scenes that marred the staging of their debut show in this country.

Texas-based Universal Royalty suffered an unprecedented media backlash and even struggled to find a venue for their first-ever Irish contest last September.

But company boss Annette Hill said that the mayhem that surrounded the contest — which included the sudden cancellation of her first-choice venue — has not put her off returning.

Yesterday she announced that a Christmas-themed pageant, again open to babies and toddlers, will take place on Dec 14.

She said she has been approached by six hotel bosses in the past two months, who have invited her to stage what would be a money-spinning event at their venue.

And although the location is once again likely to be kept under wraps for as long as possible, Ms Hill said she was hoping to stage it in Cork this time round.

“A lot of crazy stuff happened when I was last over, things which I’venever experienced in my 18 years in this business. I’m still shocked at what took place and how the media treated us. It drove me completely nuts,” she said.

“But it hasn’t put me off. In fact, it’s made me want to return even more. I’m coming back because Irish parents want us back. There’s a huge demand in Ireland for it.

She added: “I’m talking to a few hotels at this point, but the likely venue at this stage is Cork, and it’s going to be a Christmas-themed pageant. And I’ll definitely be back over next year too.”

Last September, plans by Universal Royalty to stage their debut pageant were thrown into turmoil just days before the event when bosses of their first-choice hotel, The Bracken Court in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, suddenly pulled the plug on the contest.

Pageant chiefs were forced to scramble across the country to find an alternative venue, which they only managed to confirm the night before the contest.

However, their decision to keep the location a secret for as long as possible backfired, after 20 furious families pulled their children out of the event. In the end, just 30 of the 50 youngsters, who had been booked to participate, took part in a slimmed-down contest in Corrigan’s Kitchen, a pub and restaurant in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.


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