Right old knees-up as country comes to town

Pictured on the roundabout at Country Comes To Town last year are James Topley (2) and Andrew Vaughan (19 months). INPT39-241.
Pictured on the roundabout at Country Comes To Town last year are James Topley (2) and Andrew Vaughan (19 months). INPT39-241.

Portadown is gearing up for what has become the biggest day in the events calendar, with the annual Country Comes to Town festival tomorrow (Saturday).

This is the 17th year of the heritage event, and the organisers estimate that up to 40,000 visitors could pack the town and participating venues.

The centre of the town will host hundreds of vintage vehicles, steam traction engines, bouncy castles, country musicians, children’s entertainers, petting animals, trading stalls and living history exhibitions.

At the Pleasure Gardens, there will be Connemara and Welsh ponies as well as coaches and horse-drawn wagons

And in the run-up to the main day, ‘The Wee Man From Strabane’ Hugo Duncan will bring his show to St Mark’s Plaza today (Friday) between 1.30 and 3pm.

This year, Country Comes To Town has joined forces with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council in a major promotion of the NI Year of Food and Drink.

Rachel Allen, TV chef, will be in Edward Street, baking speciality breads and cakes unique to the local landscape.

The country music attraction on Saturday afternoon will be Declan Nerney, supported by backing band Country Features.

And joining Declan throughout the day will be old favourites such as Billy McFarland, Michael McSparron, Thomas Maguire and Fiona Ennis, Maeve Farrell, Lawrence Taffe and Boxcar Brian.

People are also urged to bring along their dancing shoes because, at various stages on Saturday, Matthew Sloan and his Jiving Team will be showing all the right steps on the Plaza.

After last year’s successful ‘craft street’, the council has come on board again to sponsor a variety of demonstrations in Edward Street including woodturning, basket weaving, blacksmithing, straw craft, walking stick manufacture, weaving, Carrickmacross lace-making and a ceramicist.

The day ends with a vintage cavalcade.