All the fun of the fair in Cloneygowan

SMURFS, Prince William, Princess Kate and Jedward all featured at this year’s Cloneygowan Gooseberry Fair.

SMURFS, Prince William, Princess Kate and Jedward all featured at this year’s Cloneygowan Gooseberry Fair.

Over 30 local children took part in the Fancy Dress at the event, which took place last Sunday.

One of the oldest country fairs in Ireland, the annual event, which dates back to 1817, is always eagerly awaited and is a wonderful community celebration.

The Portlaoise Pipe Band led the parade from the village green to the field. Comprising of a spectacular vintage exhibit of tractors, cars and motorbikes who were joined by the underage footballers and the fancy dress display of the younger community, it was a sight to behold in the summer sunshine.

In the field there was a wide range of activities for all ages. The Bonny Baby show for under 1’s and under 2’s had a great number of entrants while for all the ladies attending the fair there was a prize for the Best Dressed Lady.

This year’s dog show had the biggest number of entries to date with between 15 to 20 dogs taking part.

The big match of the day was between Na Fianna and Rosenallis with the local team emerging victorious.

Elsewhere there were a variety of sporting events beginning with running races for the Tiny Tots up to Under 14 Boys & Girls as well as Three Legged and Sack Races.

Later in the day the grown-ups had their turn with a ‘water barrow race’ which tested a combination of speed and skill. In the other sections of the field a variety of activities took place including a Threshing Display by Jim Davis and friends, wheel of fortune, bottle stall, mouse and fishing, flip the coin, bouncing castles, guess the weight of the lamb, test your skills at a competition of ‘milking the cow’ and throwing the wellie, which proved a big hit this year.

Later the evening’s entertainment included cabaret in Direen’s and Murphy’s.

“It went really well,” said PRO Eithne O’Byrne Connolly. “There was a large crowd. We had about 30 children for the fancy dress competition. There was a very large vintage display and rope making on the day.”

Ms O’Byrne Connolly said the ropes were then donated to the hugely successful cake sale.

The fine weather also saw afternoon tea taking place at a number of locations.

“We’d like to thank the committee, the helpers, from those who directed traffic to those who helped with the side shows, Mrs Brennan and her family for donating the field and Mr Ridgeway. We’d like to thank all who donated to the cake sale from baking cakes and buns to donating jam and free range eggs.

“We would like to thank the Gardai for their help on the day, and everyone who attended for all their support,” commented Ms O’Byrne Connolly.

She said all funds raised will go to CYMS. This will include the annual Christmas party for the senior citizens of the area and if some of them needed to visit Lourdes, the CYMS will assist with funding.