THE 23rd annual Leixlip Festival will get going in two days time and promises plenty of street entertainment for children.
Bernard Caldwell, the long term chairperson of the Leixlip Festival committee said they have put a lot of resources into the Festival’s street carnival element, much of it planned for children.
Earlier this year, Mr. Caldwell had cast some doubt on whether they would have a festival at all because of funding problems.
But views he had aired at Leixlip Town Council meetings never came to pass and sufficient aid has been offered.
Mr. Caldwell said the three main financial supporters were Luke Moriarty of the Courtyard Hotel, Paddy Hannigan, hotelier and publican and Leixlip Town Council. Intel and HP helped out to a lesser extent. “People were beginning to realise the Festival is now part of Leixlip and they did not want to let it go to easily,” he said. “We now have just enough funding,” he said.
Among the street entertainment legends will be Willie McClown, who has been attending the Festival for 23 years. “He is a great children’s entertainer,” said Mr. Caldwell. “We need some fun.”
Willie, alternatively known as Neville Wiltshire, from Rathfarnham, has been performing in public since his early teens, starting in Avoca, Co. Wicklow in 1950.
While studying in Trinity, he used his entertainment skills to earn holiday money and has spent other work professional career in the personnel sector.
“Leixlip is a great one,” he says of the Festival. “I see the children of children who saw me years ago. It is very family friendly,” said Neville, whose grandfather came from Birmingham, UK, in the 1880’s.
His shows include Punch and Judy, but a much more politically correct version than its early more violent relatives.
He will be performing Saturday and Sunday and hopes the weather will stand up. “We only had to cancel one year,” he said, adding they can move indoors if rain comes.”Leixlip is well organised.”
The main street will closed off to traffic on Saturday (13.00 to 23.00) and Sunday (13.00 to 23.30).
The Main Street car park will be closed from 07.00 on 2 June to 20.00 on Monday, 4 June.
For full details, see the festival’s web site, www.leixlipfestival.com.