Saturday’s Castleisland Christmas Craft Fair was an outstanding success. There’s no other way of putting it in words.
Not alone was it a huge hit in its own right but it packed the town with shoppers for the day. In all parts of the town there were people in and out of shops with children with bags of the kind of stuff which gave their first port of call away at a glance.
They came from all parts of the county and they came in spite of the rain.
The River Island Hotel is well used to catering for crowds anyway but it rose magnificently to the challenge of dealing with a different kind of multitude altogether on Saturday.
“Willie Buckley and his team provided us with a marvelous venue and kept everybody happy with tea and coffee and a splendid lunch,” and that’s according to Renee McCarthy of the organising committee.
The event proved another point. That one, good, crowd-pulling event will, like a high tide, lift all boats.
Think of St. Patrick’s Day, think of the horse fair, think of the Patrick O’Keeffe festival. All singularly and traditionally successful events in their own right and all organised by different, voluntary committees. All, that is, with the exception of the horse fair.
The craft fair was an event of which Renee McCarthy and her small committee can be justifiably proud. And it was an event which raised €1,600 and that equals a sum of €800 each to Castleisland Day Care Centre and Recovery Haven in Tralee.
Alive and Kicking
The spirit of entrepreneurship was alive and kicking at the event. This was typified by a woman, trapped by a downpour at the front door of the hotel.
“If one had a stall with umbrellas here at the door today they’d clean up,” she said with a look devoid of humour and an eye that meant business.
It may well have dawned on people of a spirit kindred to the ‘umbrella woman’ that Castleisland built its market town image on fair days.
The ordinary mortals among us always think along the lines of cattle and pig and horse fairs – none, with the exception of the horse fair – will ever happen again while the boot of health and safety remains on our throats.
But there are craft fairs and antique fairs and trade fairs and Saturday would appear to be the day most likely to put a fair wind in their sales /sails.
Busiest Days in Town
And Saturday was always one of the busiest days in town. Who can remember the Wednesday half-day – and I wonder does any business in town go with the tradition anymore?
Renee McCarthy and her committee compiled a huge list of people and organisations who helped make that day what it was.
One wide, collective sweep will convey thanks to the various media coverage the event attracted.
“We would like to thank all the crafters who put on such a splendid display of their work and we would like to say a special thanks to all the people who came and supported us despite the terrible weather. Your support is greatly appreciated.
“Thanks to all our sponsors who gave us such great raffle prizes and congratulations to all the winners! The local schools and the children there for helping with the posters and the shops for displaying them. To Santa and the Elves, to Joe McCarthy for the music and the sound and to Linda Flanagan and her Zumba Dancer’s and to Kath Walsh for the road and street signs.
Huge Community Effort
“Basically,” Reenee summed up: “It was a huge community effort and I think that point should be made – and we hope to do it all over again this time next year.”
The raffle winners on the day were: Mary Tangney, Róisín O’Donoghue, Doris O’Sullivan, Sheila Hannon, Mary O’Connor, Carol Horan, Margaret O’Leary, Noranne Downey, Doris Coffey, Willie Buckley, Ann O’Callaghan, Róisín Casey, Betty Buckley, Attracta McGaley, Michael O’Brien, Mary Barrett, Mairéad Moloney, Mary O’Connor, Joan Browne, Eileen Murphy, Christine Swanser and Leanne Doody.