The Straw is the Draw in Magherafelt!

Magherafelt District Council is once again planning an exciting event for the district The Strawman Festival will be launched on Saturday 1 June 2013.

The event will feature over 20 community groups and local charities taking part in a carnival from Magherafelt High School through the town centre and ending up with a Family Fun Day at Meadowbank Sports Arena.

The day will be rounded off by “The Hoedown” a Country Concert being hosted by the Chairperson of Magherafelt District Council Cllr Paul McLean. “The Hoedown” will feature the well-known local country artist Kenny Archer and other local talent. “The Hoedown” is being held to raise funds for 3 local charities: Autism NI (Mid Ulster Branch), Charis Integrated Cancer Care and The Beacon Centre. Cllr Paul McLean explains the idea behind “The Howdown”: “ As my year as Chairperson of Magherafelt District Council draws to a close I wanted to host an event to raise money for these three well deserving charities and also to give something back to the local community. The Events team in Council were planning to hold the Straw man Festival and I felt “The Hoedown” Country Concert fitted in with the theme.” Prior to the concert a Hogroast will be served and guests will be able to inspect the Straw Men on display.

Tickets for the Hoedown are available by contacting The Bridewell on 028 79631510 or email or by contacting any of the 3 charities who will benefit, Autism NI (Mid Ulster Branch), Charis Integrated Cancer Care or The Beacon Centre.

The Strawman Carnival will take place from 12noon – 1pm and will feature community groups and charities who have all built Straw Men that represent their group / organisation. These groups have been working with local creative writer Maura Johnston who has been helping them to create a personality and story for the Straw Men. The idea for the Straw Man Festival we the brain child of local artist Helen Heron – Helen had seen a similar event in Canada and The Scarecrow Festival in Durrow, Co. Laois. Luckily Helen knew just the man to help – Tom O’Brien  who works with traditional crafts and was able to come along and run a series of workshops to build the straw men with the groups. You may have seen these popping up around the district already – there have been reported sightings in Kidz Lodge, Charis Charity Shop and Crawfords Supermarket Maghera.

After the Straw Man Carnival there will be fun for all the family to enjoy at Meadowbank Sports Arena. Shaun the Sheep Championsheeps Live will take place, the first time the roadshow has been to Northern Ireland. The day will include appearances by Shaun the Sheep, Sheep Hopper Pie-athalon, Naughty Pigs Sack Race, Free Range Egg & Spoon Race and get Get Fit with the Flock. There will also be traditional games, food from the finest local companies in Magherafelt, face painting, balloon modelling, Jumping Clay, The Creation Station and inflatables guarantees there will be something to suit everyone. For further information contact The Bridewell on 028 79631510 or email the

Throughout the summer months The Magherafelt Straw Men will be popping up in various locations and at different events throughout the district so keep an eye out for further details on the Council’s website