Wexford is creating a festival around the county's most famous agricultural produce, the strawberry.
Enniscorthy in County Wexford is the obvious choice for a strawberry festival as soft fruits are grown intensively in this region. A two acre field alone will produce nearly ten tons of fresh strawberries and one co-operative in Bunclody has over 100 acres under strawberries.
The organiser of the first Enniscorthy Strawberry Fair is Nicky Furlong and he is at great pains to stress that the festival is not just a gimmick, but will become an important annual event on the festival calendar.
Strawberries are here and have been produced for the last 20 years or so in tremendous abundance, you see, so it's logical that one must use the strawberries that are being produced in Wexford.
Developed by those connected with the strawberry industry and the festival has grown to the point that the whole county of Wexford is now involved in the fair.
In 1967 Enniscorthy successfully hosted the Fleadh Cheoil and proved the town and county could organise a big event. The next logical step was to combine these organisational strengths with the local strawberries, thereby providing,
The chance and opportunity to make the maximum possible amount of money for this area.
Local Bank manager Vincent Downey is fundraising for the festival and is confident he has already raised £600 of £700 by approaching local community and business people. Banks and other institutions have also offered support. The South Eastern Regional Tourist Organisation a Bórd Fáilte body has promised support and said that if the organisers are in the red at the end of the festival, they will be sympathetic.
Other interested firms connected with the county are providing sponsorship. A jam manufacturer with a connection to the area is to sponsor the Strawberry Queen competition.
However the festival is not completely dependent on outside firms and the event could survive without them.
The question of finance is really a minor problem with us.
Nicky Furlong expects tourists from all over Ireland and the United Kingdom will attend the festival and is certain its popularity will grow year on year.
They are not going to come here to eat strawberries alone by the time we are fished with this festival every other festival in Western Europe is going to look small beer.
This episode of ‘Newsbeat’ was broadcast on 4 June 1968. The reporter is Cathal O’Shannon.