Conna’s fabulous festival of flowers
Up to 2,000 visitors are expected to flood into a Cork village this weekend for a colourful three- day festival of flowers, which, organisers hope, will raise in the region of €10,000 for cancer research and a number of local initiatives.
Next Friday, Eileen O’Brien of the Association of Irish Floral Artists ( AOIFA) will launch the festival in the villag e of Conna, outside Fermoy.
The event, under the theme of ‘In Praise and Thanksgiving’, is the first such festival to be held in the village for some 20 years, according to Rose Hickey, chairwoman of The Conna & District Flower and Garden Club.
“Our club has participated in such events around the county over the years but this is the first time in 20 years that we’ve done a flower festival ourselves,” said Ms Hickey, who explained that she is hoping the festival will raise significant funds for cancer research.
She said the proceeds will be used for some of the many cancer research programmes in Cork, along with a number of local initiatives like Conna So c i a l Ce n t re and Conna Community Council.
The Conna & District Flower & Garden Club- run festival will take place in two churches, St Catherine’s and St Luke’s, each of which will be accessed by a spectacular bloom- encrusted archway, over this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
“This is a big floral event for the parish and beyond. The theme for the weekend is ‘ In Praise & Thanksgiving’. I feel the flower festival will give communities from both churches the opportunity to wo r k together,” said Ms Hickey.
The organisers hope to raise up to €10,000 for charity: “We are expecting visitors from all over the Munster region — people really do travel to flower festivals,” she said.
The Conna Club, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2016, has a large membership boasting some 70 flower enthusiasts from the village and all the surrounding districts.
“We love to showcase floral art, so please support this wonderful weekend,” said Ms O’Brien.
She said the flower festival will emphasise the use of autumnal flowers and foliage, both as a specific theme and also because of the time of year.
Visitors can enjoy more than 50 floral exhibits ranging from pedestal, garland, and floor arrangements to specific arrangements around themes such as the farmers market, a tapestry of flowers, and flavours of the world.
Some 22 flower clubs from all over Cork, Waterford, and Tipperary are contributing exhibits to the event, while a monster raffle is also taking place in conjunction with the flower festival with prizes sponsored by friends of the club and local businesses. There will be plant sales, home produce, a craft table, trade stands, and floral sundries in the community centre throughout the weekend.
The official opening ceremony takes place on Friday, September 1, at 7.30pm in St. Catherine’s Church, Conna with a ch ee s e , wi n e , and refreshments reception afterwards in the Conna Social Centre.
The closing ceremony will take place in St Luke’s Church on Sunday.
Tickets for the opening ceremony are available at € 10 each from club members or 087 6359844 and 087 2810744.