A Royal Welcome Awaits The 2018 Queens
The June Bank Holiday weekend in Athboy means only one thing. For the past 31 years, this bank holiday has become synonymous with the Blue Jean Country Queen Festival, which brings fun for all ages.
This year the Festival, organized by Meath Macra na Feirme, brings 22 young women from Ireland and abroad to Athboy for a weekend of good craic – or as the festival organisers say “Sound Girls Doing Mad Things”. They’ll leave on Bank Holiday Monday with great memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. While one lucky Queen will be heading home with the title of Blue Jean Country Queen, as well as €1000 in prize money from Athboy Credit Union.
The Queens are chosen by their respective Macra na Feirme regional branches, while the French Queen represents the Autonnes- Villages in Picardy as part of the long-running twinning relationship between Athboy and Autonnes.
“Sound Girls Doing Mad Things”
The 2018 Festival will officially begin at 7pm Friday 1st June in the Darnley Lodge Hotel with the opening ceremony, followed by the Queen’s first engagement of the weekend – the on-stage interviews. Here the Master of Ceremonies, Enfield Macra na Feirme member Adam Burke will quiz the Queens and help the audience find out a little bit about them. After the interviews, the Queens and all in attendance will get a chance to let their hair down with dancing to DJ Mark Caffrey.
On Saturday, the festival will hit the main street of Athboy for the Street Carnival and Craft Fair. There will be live music and entertainment on the main street from 1-5pm, as well as a chance to pick up something nice at the annual Craft Fair. After its debut at last year’s festival, The Great Blue Jean Bake Off is returning for another year, and anyone who is interested is welcome to get in touch with the Festival organizers. From 5pm the Queens will head to Floods for the annual Karaoke competition and at 7pm, Athboy Credit Union will host their annual free family BBQ in the Credit Union Car Park.
“The Blue Jean Country Queen Festival still remains the biggest event in our calendar and is a credit to all who work to organize it year in year out”.
That evening, from 9pm the Queens will head off on their annual Pub Crawl and then at 11pm, Cool Chic will take to the stage on our 90s theme night in The CU Marquee. As well as dancing in TABU Nightclub and Venue.
The fun starts at 12:30pm on Sunday afternoon with our Lark in the Park, in Athboy’s picturesque Fair Green. This year the Queens will be teaching us all about healthy eating with the fruit and veg themed “Five a Day” Fancy Dress Football Match. Then it’s a quick change and time for the Fashion Show with prizes and judge’s hampers sponsored by Staunton’s Life Pharmacy. Then it’s time to relax with music, sideshows, food and and children’s attractions until 5pm.
Sunday evening, Queens, Macra members, dignitaries, sponsors, and supporters will gather the Darnley Lodge Hotel for the Gala Banquet. After the Banquet, the Queens will ready themselves for the big announcement as they head back to The CU Marquee where the 2018 Blue Jean Country Queen will be revealed. As always, Matt and Paul Leavy will be on hand to lead the crowd in celebrating the crowning of the Queen
The 2018 Blue Jean Country Queen will receive the perpetual cup and tiara as €1000 from Athboy Credit Union. Second Prize winner will receive €500 from M&G Groundworks.
On Bank Holiday Monday, the festival will wind down in the Darnley Lodge Hotel from 1 pm. committee, host families, sponsors and well-wishers are welcome to see the Queen’s off with music from The Sandmen.
Every year the organizing committee select three individuals and charge them with the task of selecting the new Queen. This year those judges are: Samantha Baldwin, our very first Blue Jean Country Queen winner in 1987. Samantha also judged at last year’s festival, and so is well qualified to guide her fellow judges. Samantha will be joined by Russell Carrington, Chair of Rural Youth Europe. While representing the town of Athboy will be James Hesnan, a writer, musician and carpenter who is highly involved with the local community.
: “I can’t wait to meet this year’s Queens, I am so envious of what they are about to experience. If I could go back and relive that weekend again I would in a heartbeat!”
According to reigning Queen Alison Sinnott the experience of Blue Jean Country Queen is incredible. “It has opened up a world of opportunity for me and I have created friendships with people from across the country that I will be forever grateful for.” When asked if she had any message for the 2018 contestants she replied: “I can’t wait to meet this year’s Queens, I am so envious of what they are about to experience. If I could go back and relive that weekend again I would in a heartbeat!” Her advice to those about to follow in her footsteps: “Relax, have fun, represent your county with pride and relish the chance of being treated like a Queen, because you never know when it might happen again!”
“Athboy is incredibly important to us as a Festival and we wish to thank them for giving our Queens a warm and wonderful welcome every June.”
Speaking at the launch of the Festival in the Causey Farm on 7 May, Chairperson Aiveen Cully-Dunne expressed her gratitude to everyone who helps in organization of the festival:“I would like to thank our committee for all their hard work over the last 12 months. We also could not run this festival without the fantastic support of our sponsors such as: Athboy Credit Union, M&G Groundworks, The Darnley Lodge Hotel, EPM Contracting and Athboy’s local County Councillor David Gilroy as well as all the local businesses of Athboy who have all offered continued support to the festival.” She also noted the graciousness of the town of Athboy, which has hosted the festival since 1987: “Athboy is incredibly important to us as a Festival and we wish to thank them for giving our Queens a warm and wonderful welcome every June.”
It has been a busy year for Meath Macra na Feirme. In October, the county hosted the Macra na Feirme National Conference/Rally. Members of Meath Macra also took over hosting Macra’s National Talent Competition. County Chair Alan Beirne noted: “It’s been an amazing 12 months for Meath Macra, 3000 people to Meath for the October Bank Holiday weekend, we’ve just finished our second year of successfully running Macra’s National Talent Competition”. He continued: “The Blue Jean Country Queen Festival still remains the biggest event in our calendar and is a credit to all who work to organize it year in year out”.