Markethill Festival all set for 41st year

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Markethill Festival is set to kick off this Thursday, July 27 with a series of fantastic family-friendly events.

The organised event brings the community together for social events to raise awareness of, and money for a number of charities every year.

The 41st annual festival boasts tons of exciting events and activities which run from the last week of July through to mid-August.

Kindly organised by festival committee as well as friends of the committee, it couldn’t happen without the support of the local businesses, and is open to folk of all ages – ‘from babies, toddlers and teens to OAPS.’

As previous visitors to the festival will surely enthusiastically acknowledge, there is something for everyone at Markethill, whether they come along and enjoy as a spectator or participant.

Kicking off with the popular Table Quiz this Thursday at 8pm in Masonic Hall, (£3 per person including supper. maximum six per team), this is the best way to get a festival started.

This Friday and Saturday (July 28 and 29) you can also enjoy the Open Garden at Loughgilly from 1pm - 8pm.

More highlights include the famous Children’s Walking Treasure Hunt, Bouncy Castle and Family BBQ on Sunday, July 30 at 2.30pm in Gosford Forest Park. Don’t forget your picnic mat!

Next up, you can enjoy a ‘Wee Family Dander’ on Monday’s sponsored walk event (July 31) at 7pm on Main Street, Markethill. You will just need a Sponsor Form to take part - which is available by messaging the Facebook page or by contacting: 07912883943.

The Fancy Dress Parade which takes place later that day at 7.45pm is always a firm favourite, so be sure to dress to impress if you want to win in the following categories: Best home made outfit; When I grow up I want to be; Celebrity Lookalike Age groups (based on 2016-17 school year); Pre School; Primary One - Four ; Primary Five to Seven; and High School age.

More events include the Official Opening of Junior Miss & Master Markethill, Glamorous Grandmother and Festival Queen on Monday, July 31 at 8pm on Main Street, Markethill which is a free event.

The hotly anticipated Hat Competition will also take place, with prizes awarded for prettiest; most suitable for a festival; and most original.

Open Air Entertainment will also feature with music by ‘Never Too Late’ Irish and Scottish dancers.

It’s A Knockout Competition and BBQ will be held on Tuesday, August 1 at 8pm in the Primary School Field, with admission per adult just £1 and children 50p. One highlight is sure to be the Novelty Pet Show on Wednesday, August 2 at 2pm in Primary School Field, where entry per adult is just £1 and children’s admission costs just 50p. Alternatively you can purchase a Family ticket for just £2.

The Horse & Pony Driving Club is also set to take place on the same day, at 6.30pm on the Main Street, Markethill which is a free event and includes a class for Riding for the Disabled.

Meanwhile, the Antique Fair takes place on Thursday, August 3 from 1pm – 9pm at the Masonic Hall, which will cost £2 with refreshments available.

Be sure to visit the Arts & Crafts Sale and Exhibition Thursday, August 3 - Saturday, August 5 in the Small Memoriall Hall.

Opening times vary, with Thursday, August 3 open from 2.30pm until 9pm. On Friday, August 4 the fair will open its doors from 10am, and remain open until 9pm. Finally, opening hours on Saturday, August 5 will last from 10am until 6pm.

Sure to be popular with young families is the Children’s Fun Afternoon and Bonny Baby Competition on Friday, August 4 which kicks off from 2pm in the Masonic Hall. Can’t Cook Won’t Cook is always a superb event, taking place this year at the Courthouse, Markethill on Friday, August 4, where for just £5 you will also receive supper.

Flourishing vocalists will enjoy the fun-spirited Gospel Concert on Sunday, August 6 at 2.30pm with music by local artists.

Meanwhile the Indoor Bowling Competition which kicks off on Monday, August 7 is always a fantastic way to enjoy a day out with family and friends.

Appealing to all age-groups, the Senior Citizen’s Outing takes place on Wednesday, August 9 at 10am for just £5 per person and leaves from the Spar, Keady Street, Markethill. Also, be sure to get involved in the Car Treasure Hunt on Thursday, August 10 which leaves from Masonic Hall at 7pm, and don’t forget to enter the Raffle Prize Draw, with tickets on sale throughout the festival. Budding young artists entered into the Primary School Art Competition will also be on display throughout the festival period in Hunter’s Supermarket.

Local charities supported include: Enable N.I; Arthritis Care; Newry Hospice; Air Ambulance; Clic Sargent N.I; Buddy Bear Trust; St. John’s Ambulance; Chest, Heart and Stroke and Kinghan Mission for the Deaf. Visit: facebook.com/Markethill-Festival for information about events.