Oksana and Milana Puzanska, Newbridge, with Street Performing Pirates at the recent June Fest family day
Something rather wonderful and magical is happening around Newbridge this month. The town is awash with arts and cultural events, ranging from the energetic performance by Jumpin’ Johnny Peters in Newbridge Town Hall to the Bloomsday Breakfast in Salamander café lastFriday morning.
Visitors to the town can’t fail to have noticed the colourful yarnbombing of the Liffey Linear Park, while there are workshops, tours and rambles scheduled for the rest of the month.
June Fest, which was started a few years ago by some determined volunteers, has blossomed into a month-long celebration of arts, culture, local history and craic, and is a testament to the dedication and spirit of all of those involved.
Naas, of course — never one to let its neighbour get ‘one up’ on it — is also hosting a weekend-long Midsummer Arts Festival, which starts next week.
It will also incorporate a huge programme of music, theatre, workshops and family fun events.
And while some events, such as the concerts or scheduled stage performances, at both festivals, incur a ticketing fee, many are reasonably-priced or completely free.
This opens them up to big groups, youngsters or those who simply would not be able to afford a pricey theatre or concert ticket.
Nowhere is better than Kildare communities to rally around when fundraising needs to be done for a good cause.
And sadly, with public finances never going as far as they need to, there always seems to be a need to raise money for medical treatment or for school equipment or to support a family in need or to feed and clothe those living below the poverty line.
It is also heartening to see so many in both Newbridge and Naas get involved in bringing together artists, writers, actors, historians and local characters to create something that feeds the soul and brings joy to everyone who wants to take part.
Gathering together a group of volunteers to stage a one-off event is no easy task.
Wrangling large crews to see through a festival, whether it be a month-long event or just a weekend long, is no mean feat. Well done to the organisers of both events for making them happen.