WATCH: Former Kildare footballer, Dermot Earley launches June Fest in Newbridge

Action packed programme of events

Leinster Leader reporter

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Fostering local talent, family fun, and promoting heritage and the arts are central to the ethos of June Fest.

This year is no different with a huge range of events and activities planned for Newbridge and surrounding areas from May 29 to June 29.

Festival Chairman, Colm Somers told the crowd at the official opening at the Whitewater Shopping Centre yesterday evening about the plans for this year. He said they had done a strategic review of the festival prior to organising the programme.

He thanked the volunteers, the committee, and the original founders of the festival. Mr Somers also thanked new sponsors, Richard and Anna of Meehan Family Foods, who have pledged to back the event for the next three years. He said Richard had been a long standing supporter of the festival. He also praised Milano, Nando's, Marks and Spencer, the Odeon Cinema and Whitewater Shopping Centre for looking after the food and refreshments for the launch.

"We are delighted to launch this 7th year of festival fun - celebrating music, visual art, theatre, cinema, walks and talks and much more besides. Many thanks to our volunteers, artists, performers, sponsors and venue hosts," he said.

Mr Meehan said when the opportunity came up to sponsor the festival, he didn't hesitate. He said it is hugely important to support the arts and he acknowledged the importance of businesses giving their backing to the festival.

"I grew up and live in Newbridge, and my kids grew up and live here, so I am particularly proud to support this festival," he said.    

Former Kildare footballer, Dermot Earley cut the ribbon to officially launch the event. Vice Municipal District Chairperson, Cllr Murty Aspell spoke about the popularity of the festival and the dedication of the volunteers. He said Kildare County Council and the Kildare Newbridge MD was proud to support June Fest 2018. 

Committee members Karen Tyrrell  and Liz Garrett chose a number of highlights from this year's programme. Karen drew attention to the 18 musical events, 17 of which are live. She spoke about the Super Extra Bonus Party in Judge Roy Beans on June 16, and the June Fest Opera Gala in the Keadeen Hotel on June 19. 

The Bands on the Bank event on June 24 at Liffey Linear Park will feature 24 local bands showcasing their talents for all to see.

Special guest, Dermot Earley cuts the ribbon to officially launch June Fest 2018, With Cllr. Murty Aspell, and Richard Meehan of sponsors, Meehan Food Group

There are ten community and family focused events including the June Fest and Newbridge Parish Race Day on June 9. A traditional old style field day takes place in Clongorey on June 17, and the Pfizer 5km fun run will be held on the grounds of the Newbridge plant on June 24. The Suncroft Community Group will this year take over the Curragh ramble where it will be relocated to the Kildare village on June 10. 

There are six theatricial events - five in the Riverbank Arts Centre and one in Chat n' Chew. This year, the Family Fun Day will be held at St Conleth's Park and the Community Expo will be in the Town Hall. 

Whitewater Centre Manager, Ingrid Ryan said the centre was delighted to support the festival. 

Declan Browne, June Fest Committee Treasurer, special guest Dermot Earley, Colm Somers, June Fest committee Chairman, and Cllr. Murty Aspell

SEE ALSO: Meehan Family Food Group to sponsor June Fest in Newbridge for three years