The AOIFA National Flower Festival 2017 will take place in Ardee from Friday June 9th to Sunday June 11th – bringing potentially thousands of visitors to the town.
The 2017 festival, this year called ‘Celtic Way’, will come to Ardee two years after it’s last outing in Ennis, Co. Clare. AOIFA is the Irish Association of Irish Floral Artists and comprises of 90 clubs across the country and has around 6,000 members in total.
This year – the festival will use the Church of the Nativity of Our Lady and St Mary’s Church of Ireland as the two main venues, while Ardee Parish Centre is also expected to be a hub of activity over the three days of the festival. Scores of people are expected to attend the festival from across the country – and the AOIFA hope to create a festival atmosphere around Ardee for the weekend.
The official opening will take place on the Friday at 7.30pm and the festival will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm each day. There will be craft tables, plant sales, trade stands and floral sundries. Admission is €10.
Every two years, they nominate a charity to lend their valuable support to and their chosen charity for the 2017-2019 cycle will benefit from all funds raised at the event. This year it is the Irish Association for Cancer Research.
In 2015, the festival was held at Ennis Cathedral and St Columbia’s Church of Ireland in the town. In Ardee, the main sites of the festival will be the Church of the Nativity of Our Lady on John Street and St Mary’s Church of Ireland on Market Street where car, bus and coach loads of flower enthusiasts from around Ireland will come view the arrangements and displays.
The association will be hosting viewing days for it’s members at both churches from 2pm on Saturday March 11th
Two years ago, more than 100 floral exhibits were on display across the two churches and a similar number will be on display in Ardee. Back then, RTE Sport’s Marty Morrissey opened the festival.
It is expected that Ardee will see at least 4,000 visitors – the number that visited Ennis two years ago – over the weekend but local co-ordinators are hopeful of even more coming to the town.
The festival will also provide the backdrop for a host of other events throughout the weekend – with organisers working closely with local sports clubs and other community groups to put on events that the whole family can enjoy.
AOIFA have already been in contact with representatives from the Ardee Municipal District committee and Ardee Traders & Business Association with the hope of collaborating on the delivery of the festival.