Carnival atmosphere as Country Comes to Town

Rhubarb Fashions, Magowan West, are this year's winner of the Country Comes To Town window dressing competition. Pictured at the presentation of the trophy are from left, Adrian Farrell, president of Portadown Chamber of Commerce, and James Graham proprietor. INPT39-254.
Rhubarb Fashions, Magowan West, are this year's winner of the Country Comes To Town window dressing competition. Pictured at the presentation of the trophy are from left, Adrian Farrell, president of Portadown Chamber of Commerce, and James Graham proprietor. INPT39-254.

It was another great day out at Country Comes to Town on Saturday, with a carnival atmosphere and entertainment for all ages and interests.

Once again, traditional crafts were on display with demonstrations from a blacksmith, wood carver, bread-maker, butter churning, weavers and willow basket weavers.

And, in a special ‘one off’, the All-Ireland Champion walking stick and crook maker was showing how it was done. He drew a big crowd when he demonstrated how to make a walking stick from scratch.

Music played a big part on the day too with musicians such as Wee Tom, Boxcar Brian, Tony Kerr and Kenny Paul all keeping toes tapping.

The main applause of the day was reserved for Gary Gamble who was cheered on and off the stage and had the audience in stitches with his good-natured and uncanny impersonation of his Donegal neighbour Daniel O’Donnell.

No Country Comes To Town show would be complete without the steam traction engines and this year didn’t disappoint with smaller static engines and the bigger mobile steam engines.

In the vintage vehicle category, the stationary engine winner was John Mullan; the motorbike winner, John Bracken; car category winner, John Montgomery; tractor winner, Kenny McClelland; and lorry winner, John and Joanne Semple.

Fermanagh man William Allen, who judges the vintage entries and has been attending the event for a number of years, said, “It was a fantastic occasion, with a good turnout of cars, and I want to congratulate John Wilson and Eamon Fleming on doing an excellent job.

“I met people from Co Laois and Scottish people as well. I think it’s a unique event in so far as Ireland is concerned.”

The animals too drew a big crowd with the wallaby and the little goat, provided by Phil’s Farm, particular favourites.

Phil’s Farm had another selection of livestock at The Meadows and the fun continued inside the centre, with shoppers serenaded by Portadown’ five-piece country band, Jaymacks.

The entertainment also had a more exotic feel with Brazilian Beat and belly dancers, and music from a didgeridoo!

The window display was won by West Street boutique Rhubarb, for the second year in a row. The shop will once again donate the prize money of £100 to Southern Area Hospice.

Secretary Bryan McLaughlin said, “The Country Comes to Town organisers hope that they have, once again, achieved their ambition of putting Portadown firmly on the entertainment map.”