Derby parade starts festival week in Kildare town

Kildare football star Dermot Earley officially launched the Kildare town Derby Festival last Sunday afternoon.

Kildare football star Dermot Earley officially launched the Kildare town Derby Festival last Sunday afternoon.

The week-long event kicked off with a parade from Tesco car park, which was well attended by the town’s sports clubs, community organisations and dance groups.

One of the guests of honour at the parade was the new Derby Festival Queen Shauna Forde from Monasterevin, hwo was crowned at a gala event at the Derby House Hotel last Friday night.

The Sarsfields footballer said that it was an “absolute honour” for him to launch the festival, and he commended the committee for their hard work.

“This is one of the biggest weeks in Kildare, and it puts the county on the map which is important. It will be a brilliant week to be here in Kildare,” he said.

“With the Kildare match next Sunday, I will not be able to partake in the festivities,” he joked, adding that hopefully the footballers will be able to celebrate the success of both Derby week and a match win on Sunday evening next.

Kildare Mayor Michael ‘Spike’ Nolan and local TD Martin Heydon, Cllr Paddy Kennedy and Paul Hensey of the Curragh Racecourse were among those in attendance at the launch.

“It is great that we can still run festivals like this with money as tight as it is,” said Mayor Nolan.

All speakers paid tribute to the committee of volunteers who have put in hard work for the past year for this 34th annual festival.

The parade was followed by a dog show in St Brigid’s Park and a Monster Field Day at the Soccer Field.

Highlights of the week still to come include the Mikado Outdoor Concert at the Japanese Gardens which will run from Tuesday to Thursday evenings; the Kildare’s Got Talent final on Friday night at Market Square (8pm); the Best Buddies Competition starting on Market Square at 7pm on Saturday, followed by an open air concert with Kym Kelly and Crystal Swing, and the Feedback and Bagatelle Concert on Sunday night, starting at 8pm on Market Square. A full programme of events is available in the town.

- Laura Coates

For more photos from the Kildare Town Derby Festival Parade, see this week’s Leinster Leader