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    IRISH FUN: Horsham Agricultural Society secretary Andrea Cross embraces the Irish spirit ahead of a 2020 Horsham Irish Festival. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Horsham Irish Festival returns for 2020


Wimmera people will have the chance to embrace Irish culture, colour and fervour when Horsham Agricultural Society’s Horsham Irish Festival returns later this month.

The family-friendly event will be at Horsham Showground’s Maydale Reserve on February 29, and feature live music, a jig or two, and – of course – potatoes.

It comes off the back of an inaugural event in 2019, which Horsham Agricultural Society secretary Andrea Cross said would largely provide the blueprint for this year’s festival.

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Mrs Cross said the program would feature a returning morning and evening session split, as well as a ‘popular’ Irish brunch, Artisan Market and Irish-themed entertainment and competitions.

She said there would also be a few new highlights for patrons, such as entertainment from Adelaide Celtic band The BordererS.

She said this was both in an effort to appeal to a variety of interests, as well as showcase the capacity and offerings of Maydale Reserve as a venue.

“If we look at it from the agricultural society’s perspective, this event is part of our research in developing the Maydale Reserve as an indoor-outdoor entertainment venue,” she said.

“It’s all about demonstrating to the community that Maydale Reserve is open for business and looking to support community events. The venue has so much to offer.

“But it actually balances on the support of the community whether these events continue, so we’re really encouraging people to come down.

“The more we do as a society, hopefully the more the community supports it and the more money we raise, and the more we can then put back into the community with these events.”

Mrs Cross said the day would kick off with a traditional Irish brunch and Artisan Market from 10am to 2pm.

“The Irish brunch on the riverfront will be complete with soda bread, black pudding, eggs and bacon, beans, mushrooms – everything that makes up a good Irish brunch,” she said.

“Last year we cooked meals for more than 200 people and we’re hoping to achieve a similar amount this year.

“And we’ve captured some new artisans for the market this year in Blue Wren Bakery, who are a young couple in Pomonal. We also have Five Ducks Farm and Mrs Baker’s Still House.”

After 2pm, festivities will continue with the opening of a village green.

Entry to the afternoon session is $20 an adult, including one free drink.

Entertainment will start with live music from The BordererS from 2pm to 4pm, followed by Johnny Thunder and The Lightnings in the evening.

There will also be Irish dance workshops, a potato-peeling competition, Irish strongman and arm-wrestling competitions, and food trucks. 

Mrs Cross said an O Danny Boy singing competition with a $100 cash prize was up for grabs.

“It’s an action-packed program. There will be lots of entertainment and it is going to be all outdoors, because the weather is predicted to be perfect,” she said.

“Having The BordererS is really exciting because they have a huge following. We’re also looking at having live painters, and Horsham Apex Club is chipping in and doing a spinning wheel competition.” 

People can buy tickets for the festival online at Onsite camping for both unpowered and powered sites is also available. 

The entire February 12, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!