By John Carney
THERE are some times in life when it helps if you can keep a secret, and one of them is when you’ve been chosen to be the next Lady of the Lake.
Now in its 43rd year, it’s the Irvinestown festival’s biggest talking point. Keeping it under all wraps can’t be easy, but this year’s recipient, Chloe McKevlin, had been down this road before.
“Eight years ago I was actually one of the Ladies-in-Waiting to Zoe Brooke-Kinnear in 2014,” she said.
“That had to be kept quiet too. It was very special to be part of it then and even more so now.
“I got the call last Friday night and was really shocked. I couldn’t believe it was real. I’m overwhelmed as it’s such an honour.”
The 19-year-old, who is currently doing a Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies at South West College, Omagh, replaced Nikita Ward as Lady of the Lake and was unveiled in the presence of guest stars Leah O’Rourke and Beccy Henderson of Derry Girls fame.
This year’s Ladies-in-Waiting, Jessica Largo-Elis and Amy Kane, will be hoping that one day they’ll emulate her, but in the meantime, Ms McKevlin is going to be in demand.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a fun-packed week and year,” she said.
With the festival now well underway, there are still plenty of events to keep her busy. The Fair Day has traditionally been one of its biggest hits, and it’ll take place today, July 13, at Castle Irvine Estate, Necarne.
As well as the usual stalls and craftspeople, the World Sheep Dung Spitting contest will be staged along with the All Ireland Potato Peeling competition, while a vintage tractors parade will add to the occasion.
The fancy dress dog walk gets Thursday, July 14, off to a good start followed by a dog show in front of Necarne Castle. That evening, the annual Fancy Dress Parade will take place at 8pm as DJ Rockstar hosts the Festival Bingo on Zoom where there will be plenty of cash prizes available.
On Friday, July 15, the Irvinestown Community Mummers will be fire dancing on Irvinestown’s main street, followed by the Festival of Lights at 10.30pm.
The big event on the final day (Sunday, July 17) will be the traditional Truck Convoy that promises to keep all those truckers out there happy.
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