The launch of the Newbridge 200 Festival, which will take place from September 6 to 16 to celebrate the town’s bicentenary, took place on Thursday last, August 23.
The festival was launched at the organisation’s offices at The Avenue, Whitewater, by Mayor of Kildare Micheal ‘Spike’ Nolan and local TD Deputy Martin Haydon. They were were accompanied by the Chairperson of Newbridge 200, David O’Reilly, and local military personnel to celebrate the strong historical links Newbridge has with the army.
“On September 10, 1812 General John Freeman signed an agreement to build a barracks here and 200 years later here we are commenorating the event,” said Con McNamara of the festival committee.
The committee chairperson David O’Reilly then added that 40,500 programmes will be delivered to homes from “Newbridge to Rathangan to Monasterevin” in order to spread the word, get as many people as possible on board to make the festival a “real success’.
Deputy Martin Haydon said it is now “up to the people of Newbridge and the surrounding areas to come in and support the festival”.
“It is a very difficult time for small businesses who are the life blood of the economy,” he said. “Newbridge 200 is an opportunity for people to shop local and support local businesses.”
Newbridge Town Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin said the festival will be a “historic” event for Newbridge.
“It is an opportunity to look back on the birth of Newbridge and celebrate the last 200 years as well as an opportunity to look forward,” she said. “It is a difficult time for traders in Newbridge and I welcome any positive element that can happen to encourage people to Newbridge to spend time and money in the town and see what a great community we have here. Let everybody come out and celebrate.”
The festival promises 11 days of family fun, arts, music, cultural and sporting events that include a vintage parade through the town on Saturday morning, September 8. Also on the festival bill is the Rotary Black Tie Ball on Saturday evening alongside assorted walking drama and historical tours, an historical photo exhibition, racing in the Curragh, an Anuna Concert in St Conleth’s Church on September 15 and wrapping up with an exhibition GAA match on Sunday 16, followed by a free Jack L concert and fireworks for the grand finale.
- Paula Campbell