The Blue Jean Country Queen Festival (or Blue Jeans is it is locally known) has, for 30 years, been a highlight of the year for Macra members all over the country. While it’s a competition, it’s less about competitiveness and more about comradely. The Queens arrive as contestants and leave as friends. Their supporters and locals alike enjoy a fun-filled weekend of live music and entertainment and an experience that is unforgettable for all.
The festival owes it’s existence to Patrick Farrelly, then a member of Carnaross Macra na Feirme. Having visited Tralee during the Rose of Tralee Festival, Patrick was inspired to replicate that experience in his home county. After mulling this idea over for some time, it was only when he heard Philomena Begley’s “I’m A Blue Jean Country Queen” that inspiration finally struck. He brought the idea to his own Macra club first, but when it proved to be too ambitious a project for one club alone, he approached the Meath Macra na Feirme County Executive with his idea.
While initially, members of the County Executive thought he was “mad” or that this was all one big joke – Patrick was serious with his plan and so other members of Meath Macra got on board. The hard work of organizing a festival from scratch then began. Including, Meath Macra members driving around Ireland to appeal to other Macra County Executives to send contestants. The following June, the first ever Blue Jean Country Queen Festival. Brendan Grace interviewed the Queens on stage and Samantha Baldwin, the Wicklow Queen, was awarded top prize.
The festival found itself a home in the town of Athboy as much out of luck as a necessity. Athboy was, at the start, a welcome host for a festival in need of a home. Over the years, the warmth and generosity of the people of Athboy has been woven into the fabric of the festival. The Athboy community has welcomed Queens into their homes. Local businesses have offered sponsorship in minor and major ways. The Kirwin Arms initially, and since the mid-90s the Darnley Lodge Hotel has provided a hub for the festival to spread itself all over the town. While in 2015, Athboy Credit Union came on board as a multi-year main sponsor.