William Smith

Reporter:

William Smith

Email:

william.smith@tyronecon.co.uk

IRVINESTOWN'S 'Lady of the Lake', Nikita Ward, said that the local community proved to be "keen to get out and about" after lockdown to enjoy a scaled back version of the beloved festival event.

The 'Lady of the Lake 2021 - The One After Lockdown' took place over five days, with an array of outdoor events in and around the Irvinestown area.

Now in its 42nd year, it was 24-year-old Nikita Ward, who was once again given the honour of the prestigious title.

The Irvinestown girl was crowned 'Lady of the Lake' in 2019, but a decision was made for her to continue to perform duties associated with the title until normality is resumed for the competition in relation to Covid-19.

And while the festival was curtailed this year due to the pandemic, visitors from near and far enjoyed the multiple events on offer.

Friday saw a traditional opening night, with a fancy dress parade as well as a Covid-19 Post Lockdown Party theme.

On Saturday there was a dog walk at Necarne Castle, water sports, clay pigeon shooting, walking tours of Castle Archdale, pet show, a raft race and a concert, to name but a few.

Sunday saw a fishing competition, vintage car and tractor run, The Logue's in concert, and online bingo.

Monday's events included Drumharvey Band Parade and a treasure hunt. The festival concluded with the traditional fair day, with a change of venue to Necarne Castle, yesterday (Tuesday).

Speaking of the event, 'Lady of the Lake' Nikita said it was clear festival-goers were keen to enjoy what was on offer after a long period of lockdown.

"The fancy dress parade had probably one of the biggest turn outs I have ever seen. I just think people have been raring to get out and about, and to get back to some form of normality.

"The events were enjoyed by everyone in a safe way. It was great to see smiles on everyone's faces, with everyone out in the fresh air, seeing friends and family. There was a superb crowd and a great atmosphere.

"Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, some events had to be cancelled and scaled back, but this was done with safety and social distancing in mind. It's safe to say everyone made the most of what they could have given the restrictions.

"It obviously has been an honour to have been 'Lady of the Lake' again. I am a nurse in Enniskillen Hospital, and I have been working throughout pandemic. The festival has been a great opportunity for me, and hopefully next year I can hand it over to another girl and they can get the same experience I had. I consider myself very lucky."

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