Rural Enterprises Book Their Slots for €5 Million Sheep & Wool Festival

  • 15,000 plus visitors expected at world class event

FANCY trying to make or paint your own pottery?  Or working with wool to make felt and design a very special gift? Perhaps volunteering, testing your driving skills in a state of the art simulator or choosing from mouth-watering cakes and breads is more your thing? Then the ‘2011 Sheep & Wool Festival’ in Kilkenny is definitely the place to be over the June Bank Holiday Weekend.

Rural enterprises, craft makers and businesses from as far afield as Donegal, Meath, Westmeath, Galway and Leitrim have booked their place at the country’s biggest ever sheep and wool festival, an international event which  runs in Kilkenny over the June Bank Holiday Weekend and will have a captive audience of 15,000 plus.

Trade stand applications for the ‘2011 Sheep & Wool Festival’ on June 4 & 5 in Kilkenny’s Cillín Hill exhibition centre on the edge of the city are still flooding in on the festival website, www.sheepshearing2011.ie, and the organisers say it’s shaping up to be one of the biggest showcase events ever outside of Dublin for indigenous craft makers, food enterprises, small businesses, voluntary and statutory organisations.

Children attending the two day festival will be invited to make their own pottery with Studio Upper from Aughrim while young motorists will be invited to test their driving skills in the state-of –the-art Road Safety Authority simulator. There’s felting workshops with renowned felter, Nicola Brown, and an opportunity to watch a knitting group in action.

Osteopaths, solicitors, jewellers, bakers, fudge makers, mind, body and spirit practitioners, soap manufacturers, fabric makers and fashion designers will all feature, ensuring there’s something for all the family at the event, Trade Stands Coordinator, Pat Murphy, said.

“Enterprises linked to booming sheep and wool industry and many others have booked their slots for our festival, which coincides with the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny. Our event includes the Clik Pour On All Ireland & International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships and draws competitors from Australia, New Zealand and all over Europe. But the event is about a lot more than sheep and wool and the mix of exhibitors and other attractions guarantees this,” Mr Murphy said.

The organisers have pitched their exhibition rates very low, allowing establishing enterprises an opportunity to showcase their goods and services – without spending a fortune. Outdoor stands start from just €150 for the two days while indoor stalls in the craft and food hall are also from €150, also for two days.

“The low fee has spurred lots of establishing enterprises to book their slot and display their produce to a captive audience of 10,000 plus over our two day festival. We’ve already had bookings from Galway, Dublin, Donegal, Laois, Meath, Carlow, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Leitrim and Kilkenny and would encourage more enterprises to get in touch now.

“Food and craft displays will all be housed within The Hub at Cillín Hill and other trade stands will be pitched on the level, tarmac surface outside. It’s the perfect all-weather venue for this event and in addition to the sheep shearing, there’s wool handling, Pedigree Sheep Society All Ireland Championships, a 24hour record attempt for the number of sheep shorn and demonstrations on the uses of wool from producer to user,” Mr Murphy added.

The 2011 Sheep & Wool Festival is supported by Kilkenny Leader Partnership, FBD Insurance, Eamon Langton, FRS Farm Services and Bord Bia.

–         For application forms and information on trade stand rates and sizes, check out www.sheepshearing2011.ie or email trade@sheepshearing2011.ie

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