Portadown Festival began yesterday (Thursday) with the speech section heralding the start of an action-packed three months.
More than 6,000 entries have been received for this year’s festival, which will be manned by hundreds of volunteers.
The festival, now in its 92nd year, has been given a boost by the announcement that Progressive Building Society is to sponsor the 2014 Northern Ireland Festivals Forum (NIFF).
The forum provides support for 17 Federation festivals across the province, including Portadown.
Carolyn McCabe, chair of Portadown Festival and the Northern Ireland Festivals Forum, said, “On behalf of the volunteers, actors, singers and dancers at the Forum I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Progressive for their support.”
Portadown festival also receives financial assistance from a range of local sponsors. Said Carolyn, “I want to thank all of them too. We couldn’t function without them.” The speech section, which will run until Monday, March 7, will see hundreds of competitors competing in classes ranging from poetry to good conversation. The adjudicators will be Timothy McCarthy, Cork, and Norma Redfearn, Northampton.
The festival continues with the drama section from March 11-21, when 10 amateur drama groups will compete for the top prizes.
Portadown drama group the Phoenix Players will stage All Souls Night by Joseph Tomelty on Wednesday, March 12, while other productions are The Man Who Came to Dinner, Rosemary Drama Group; Portia Coughlan, Pomeroy Players; Play On, The Clarence Players; A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Bangor Drama Club; Nightmare, Stagefright Drama Group; Bedroom Farce, Holywood Players; The Dining Room, Bart Players; The Winslow Boy, Dundalk Theatre Workshop; The Odd Couple, Lislea Dramatic Players.
The folk dance festival will be held from March 22-29, followed by music from April 3-11 and dance from May 2-10.
All the results will be on the website www.portadownfestival.org.uk. Parking is also free at High Street Mall.