There was a Great Gathering at the Harvest Picnic: The Grand Finale Event of the 2013 Kilkenny Trails Festival.
A fine autumn day brought great numbers out to Rod and Julie Calder-Potts’ Highbank Organic Farm in Cuffesgrange on Sunday for the gathering of all the trails at the Harvest Picnic. Julie Calder–Potts speaking at the end of the day said “it was a great celebration of local food and craft and of all of the trails – We’ve had great fun and fabulous support from the people of Kilkenny who came out to enjoy the day with us”.
The atmosphere was amazing as families and friends gathered and ‘picnic-ed’ at the amazing 60 feet of picnic tables that stretched the length of the Coach yard; surrounded by stalls of tempting picnic goodies – cupcakes from Slice of Heaven, chocolates for Thomastown’s Truffle Fairy and homemade quiches and salads, temptingly displayed in massive Nicholas Mosse bowls on the Glasraí and Goodies stall.
Local crafts were located in stalls of the stables – creative displays of everything from cut flowers to candles, felt and ceramics. The craft workshops were a big hit, with children especially enjoying throwing pottery on the wheel and making clay creatures or their own floating candles.
Gerry O’Brien’s pony and trap delighted families with tours of the farm and of course the Harvest Train was a great attraction; heading off through the orchards.
The Cooking Pit
What a spectacle it was to see what is normally a swimming pool converted into an amphitheatre made of hay and aptly christened the Cooking Pit where an audience of probably 300 enjoyed Anne Neary, Breda McDonald and Edward Hayden’s fabulously entertaining Bread, Butter and Jam Demo.
Vincent Grace of Riversfield Organic Farm supplied the onions and set up for onion hanking in his tunnel and a constant stream of ‘hankers’ could be seen busying themselves with stringing and making their hanks championship ready. Olivia Goodwillie of Lavistown sausages fame; a seasoned hanker who regularly hanks onions at home in Lavistown to provide the family with a winter store of onions, made a most impressive hank and was a worthy, first ever, National Onion Hanking Champion.
Family Fun on the Farm
There was lots of activity on the farm too, and the orienteering course designed by Pat Delaney around the farm, proved really popular with families; many completing the course several times. The 2km farm track gave families great freedom to explore the farm on Waterside’s mountain bikes. Monica Fleming’s mini beast tours fascinated the younger children particularly; they could be seen enthusiastically shaking autumn leaves from trees to see what insects might be hiding there. Harvest Games were held under the arches of the coach yard and children were busy all day making faces from decorative squash, playing squash skittles and hunting for monkey nuts in a hay ‘stack’.
Doreen and Don Brown’s art exhibition ’81 not out’ in their Elinor Studios at Highbank was much admired and many pieces sold over the weekend. The exhibition continues to run from 11am – 5pm daily till Sat 5th October. A percentage of proceeds from work sold will go to Carlow & Kilkenny Home Care Team.
Eoin Hogan of Trail Kilkenny said it was a great co-operation between so many “the collaboration with KRSP and the support of RSS; volunteers on the day and Kilkenny’s wonderful food and crafts people, who all really entered into the spirit of the Harvest Picnic”.
Issue date: Monday 30th September 2013