Newbridge Chamber hosted an open meeting with businesses, schools, families, schools, community, sports and cultural groups on Wednesday night, February 8, to discuss birthday plans for the town’s 200th celebrations in September.
The meeting, which was held in the Silver Restaurant at Newbridge Silverware, was to get ideas rolling on how to launch a plan of action for Newbridge 200.
“In order to mark the occasion, and with a focus on developing an ongoing strategic plan for the town, we pulled together all interested stakeholders across community, commerce and culture to create a series of events that will reflect positively on this anniversary,” said Breda McHale of the Chamber.
“In essence we want to use it as a platform to move Newbridge forward and foster a positivity and pride in the town.
“We had a great cross section of people there on the night and there was lots of enthusiasm in the room.”
It was decided that the banner of ‘Newbridge 200’ would cover a ten day festival in September from 7 to 17 with a six month lead in time from April to September and an event each month to lead up to the big bash.
“The anniversary is on 10 September 1812 as this was when the charter was signed which created the town,” she explained.
“The land was sold to the State by Eyre Powell and given to the Army and from there Main Street was fashioned and Newbridge was born.”
It was also agreed that the festival would be followed by a year-long bicentenary celebration to mark the event.
“And every September thereafter Newbridge will have a harvest festival,” she added. “We are sowing the seeds for a new festival for Newbridge and restoring civic pride back into the town.
“There will also be commercial benefits and it will create lots of opportunities for local businesses. We plan to build on the excitement and enthusiasm that was in the room on Wednesday night to drive this festival forward. It will be so much fun doing this.”
A dedicated web site designed by the capable hands of local designers Adam Faughnan and Paul Delaney of Design Mine will go live in April.
“They are creating a town based on 1812 for the web site,” added Breda.
“It looks amazing already. People are really excited and it will go live in April. There will also be a specific logo designed for the festival which looks great.”
At the launch Newbridge History Group and the Chamber both gave a short presentation which outlined their vision for the project.
“The Chamber wants to draw together community, commercial and cultural groups to get involved in this unique opportunity to promote the town - and have fun together while doing it,” she added.
“We feel with representatives from all these groups we can make an enduring legacy for the town. We already have support pledged from the County Council and the Town Council, which is fantastic. People are really getting excited and we plan to build on that.”
Meanwhile the council agreed at last month’s meeting to invite the local Historical Society to give a presentation on the history of the bicentary.
“This was where Newbridge was started, “ said Cllr Mick Deely. “The Historical Society can prove that Newbridge will be 200 years old.”
Councillors also heard that celebrations will be kicked of as part of the St Patrick’s Day Festival in March.
“This could be the start of Newbridge 200,” he added. “The army are also willing to be involved with the funding and they will be looking at LEADER funding.”