Excitement builds ahead of annual Newtownstewt festival

A SOAPBOX derby and family fun day will kick off this year’s Two Castles Community Festival in Newtownstewart.
Excitement is building in the area ahead of the annual festivities, which are due to start next Sunday (August 25).
As part of the lead-up to the festival this summer, a ‘Toy Story 4’ themed hay bale display has been erected in a field beside the Newtownstewart bypass, continuing a popular tradition that first began three years ago.
Back in 2016, festival chairman John Gallagher came up with the idea to build something spectacular and different to launch the event.
A beautifully-crafted straw bear attracted admirers from far and wide.
This year, hit Disney movie, ‘Toy Story 4’, has provided the inspiration for designer, Shauneen Kilpatrick, and her team of builders, Gerard McNamee, Shane McNamee, Shane Kilpatrick and Tony Conway. The money raised by the display will be donated to the ‘Tiny Life’ charity.
Come next Sunday, the annual celebrations will begin with a soapbox derby and fun day, organised by St Patrick’s Primary School Parents
Support Group in association with Two Castles Community Festival, taking place from 1pm to 5pm.
New to the line-up this year is a ‘Wheel your Wife’ race, where couples will try to navigate an obstacle course on wheelbarrows.
During the soapbox derby, due to start at 2pm, teams will have to navigate a thrilling racetrack judging the ramp and chicane with accuracy and skill.
The opening day of the festival will also feature a ball race down Main Street and an open air boxing tournament.
Alongside all of this entertainment will be a family fun day on St Eugene’s Street where, for the first time, there will be a selection of amusements from Bell’s Traditional Funfair to enjoy.
Ryan Tracey, of Duff Balloons, will be on hand to create more ballooning masterpieces and there will be bouncy castles, face painters and games galore, such as Lucky Dip, Scoop a Duck and Throw the Sponge.
DJ Hammy will also be entertaining the spectators. The day will be finished off with music from Mr Men in the Marquee from 6pm behind the Castle Hotel.
Proceeds from the soapbox derby and fun day will be going towards various projects aimed at improving the physical and mental wellbeing of the St Patrick’s PS pupils.
Meanwhile, the programme of events for the rest of the Two Castles Community Festival will include a multi-games camp for children, a quiz night, a Bessy Bell ramble and the popular tractor and truck run, which will take place on Sunday, September 7.



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