Conna’s fab­u­lous fes­ti­val of flow­ers

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Ailín Quin­lan

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.

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