Queen of the Land Festival launched in Offaly

Charlie Flynn

Reporter:

Charlie Flynn

The 2018 Clarke Machinery Group Queen of the Land Festival will take place on 9th-11th November 2018 in the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore. Now approaching its 54th year, the Queen of the Land Festival is the highlight of the national Macra na Feirme calendar each year, drawing crowds from all over the country in order to support their local ladies. The Festival aims to celebrate the talents and achievements of the young women of Macra na Feirme while entertaining the masses.

54 years is a massive achievement for any festival – but this milestone does not come easily. Chairman, Ger Mahon said at the Official Launch, “there is no doubt that one of the most important elements of that survival is the acquisition of sponsorship”. This year, the festival is proud to announce a new partnership with Clarke Machinery Group. Clarke Machinery Group is a Co. Cavan based business, founded by Gerard Clarke in 1982. A booming business, Mr Clarke proudly announced that they “sell everything from 250 horsepower tractors to bicycles”.

Along with his kind sponsorship of the festival, Mr Clarke will undoubtedly add personality, charm and some Cavan wit to the judging panel. His speech at the launch showed a clear appreciation of hard work and perseverance – two very Queen-like qualities, which he will surely be looking for in this years Queens! Mr Clarke was joined at the launch by two other members of the judging panel: Anna-Marie McHugh, previous winner of the Queen of the Land, managing director of the National Ploughing Association and general-secretary of the World Ploughing Organisation, and Emma Birchall, the 2017 Queen of the Land Festival winner. Joe Healy, President of the Irish Farmers Association, will join the judging panel at the Festival.

30 Queens will be participating in this years festival, with contestants coming from all over the country and even abroad. The Festival is not only a competition but an opportunity for these young women to meet new people, build new friendships and create fond memories that will remain with them forever. The Queen of the Land Festival also brings opportunity to Tullamore and the wider county of Offaly. The Festival showcases the county’s greatest attractions, local businesses and renowned hospitality with a busy schedule of events.

On Friday November 9th, the participants will arrive to Tullamore and will tour the county before the Festival is officially launched at 6.30pm. This will be followed by a special performance by the excellent country singer, Marty Mone in the Palace Nightclub, at 10pm.

On Saturday 10th November, the Queens will be privately interviewed by the judging panel. A treasure hunt will lead the girls around the town of Tullamore where they will find many hidden jewels. The excitement truly begins in Hugh Lynches at 3pm when the ladies will meet their escorts for the weekend - A matchmaking opportunity for some, for others the foundation of a lifelong friendship. Rock on Paddy, local entertainer will pair the Queens and certainly break the ice! At 6pm that evening, the doors open to the Bridge House Hotel for the Queens on-stage interview. MC on the night will be Will Faulkner, revered DJ on Midlands 103 – Will adds natural charisma and a sense of calmness to the stage. Transmitter and Joe Wynne will entertain the masses until late.

On the final day of the Festival, the girls will attend a special ceremony at the Church of Assumption Tullamore, before beginning the preparations for the Gala Banquet. The Banquet begins at 7pm, followed by dancing with the amazing band, the LOLs. At midnight, the 2018 Clarke Machinery Group Queen of the Land will be announced and celebrations will continue into the morning.

There is no doubt that this is the biggest and best Queen of the Land Festival yet!