Festivals galore this weekend

THE Kilkenny economy will receive a welcome boost this bank holiday weekend as thousands of people converge on the city and county for the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, Rockfall music festival and the Irish Conker Championships.

THE Kilkenny economy will receive a welcome boost this bank holiday weekend as thousands of people converge on the city and county for the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, Rockfall music festival and the Irish Conker Championships.

Up to 10,000 food lovers are expected for the fifth annual Savour Festival which will see Kilkenny transformed into a buzzing culinary heaven with a free open-air food market on the Parade Plaza and leading Irish chefs including Donal Skehan and Catherine Fulvio doing cooking demonstrations in the Set Theatre.

Meanwhile Freshford hosts the 2011 Irish Conker Championships, with a three-day long programme of family-focused outdoor and indoor events. This year’s championship has a strong international dimension with many competitors from the recently cancelled World Conker Championships in the UK travelling for the main competition this Sunday.

And the city will be abuzz with music day and night as the 23rd annual Rockfall festival raises money for Enable Ireland at the O’Neill Centre.

A huge attraction at this year’s Savour Festival will be the first public appearance since her win of the new RTÉ Ireland Masterchef champion, Mary Carney, and four other finalists. Mary will be guest judging the Savour Masterchef Final in the Set Theatre on Sunday along with chef Catherine Fulvio, while four of the other Masterchef finalists will be preparing canapés to accompany wine during a wine-tasting event in the Pembroke Hotel on Saturday.

Entrance to the market on the Parade Plaza will be free this year, and entrance to about a dozen demonstrations and talks will be via a €10 festival wristband.

There will also be a festival atmosphere at the Irish Conker Championships in Freshford.

“As well as conkers on Green from 1pm Saturday we have art exhibitions, hiking and trekking on the Loop Walk and comedy with comedian Jarlath Regan,” said organiser Grace Kearney.The Irish Conker Championships is open to competitors of all ages from 8 upwards with competitions judged at under-12, under-14, under-17 and adult levels. Team events also run on the day.

For more on Savour Kilkenny, see Page 6. For more on Rockfall, see Page 2 of Section 2.