ORGANISERS of the Mary From Dungloe Festival say it is “all systems go” following a hugely positive response to an appeal for volunteers.
An emergency meeting was called on Monday amid fears the annual celebrations may have to be cancelled due to a lack of support from the community.
But spokesperson Mary Ward told the Donegal News yesterday the committee was delighted with the turn out and that things will be going ahead as planned.
Ms Ward said, “It was a very successful meeting and the festival is going ahead. We had quite a number of people there and thankfully it is full steam ahead.”
This year’s festival, the 55th Mary From Dungloe, will take place over ten days, from July 23 to August 1. Due to the recent uncertainty some mid-week events may not take place as scheduled. But the bulk of the programme will happen including the official ribbon cutting ceremony on the Saturday and the ‘Country Sunday’ concert which will see long-time festival supporter Daniel O’Donnell perform.
Further events will take place throughout the week with trad sessions, step dancing, local band Motley Crew and much more all lined up.
“It is a packed programme and we really are thrilled with the support that has been shown, both from the local businesses and in particular the number of young people who are offering to help out,” Mary Ward said.
“The Mary pageant will go ahead as well and we have five Marys from North America. We also have our London Mary, our Scottish Mary from Edinburgh and then India Kennedy from Donegal Town who is our Donegal Mary. Sinead Harte from Sligo is our Wild Atlantic Way Mary and we have just put out a call for our Dungloe Mary. Hopefully by the June bank holiday we will have chosen our Dungloe representative.”
Like many sectors, the Mary From Dungloe has had to cut back on some events such as water-based activities and It’s a Knockout due to the rising cost of insurance.
“It is just impossible to get insurance for those things any more which is unfortunate,” Ms Ward said.
“But apart from that it is all positive and I think everyone came away from Monday’s meeting on a high. We were really pleased with the attendance but more than that, the number of people coming forward to offer to do things.
“It was almost infectious in that as soon as someone came up with an idea, someone else spoke up as well. Hopefully that carries on through now to the festival.”
While there is a renewed enthusiasm, the committee is still looking for more volunteers, particularly those in the late teen age category.
There will be a strong focus on social media over the coming months with details being rolled out through Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram. Anyone looking to get involved can contact the committee there.