Sunday, 27 July 2008


Three Muff Foyle Roses

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend this year Muff will be a mass of colour and bursting at the seams with holidaymakers and locals taking part in their annual festival. This will be the 27th Muff Festival and this year there will be even more events to take part in or attend. The festival is ideally situated to attract large numbers of people from both sides of the border. The annual extravaganza hosts a veritable galaxy of daft competitions, street partying and parades, guaranteed to leave you reeling and giggling for a long time after the strains of the final fiddle die away.


Muff Festival all started over lively discussions in a bar back in 1981. Following a recent stretch of bright sunny weather at the time, a small group of entrepreneurs in a dark corner of a local hostelry came up with the idea to turn the weekend into an event. The festival was up and running three weeks later after the group in the pub sobered up.


“This is a tremendous exercise in our district relations and has undoubtedly helped promote the feeling of a closely knit community which should always be a characteristic of a small village like Muff.” An organiser from the first festival.

“This festival is too bizarre, too fun, too ridiculous to miss out on. If you need a spot of cheering up, then it really is a must!” Newspaper journalist, overwhelmed at the event.

“The idea to hold the first Muff Festival was hatched, flourished and was successfully carried out within four weeks, a very short space of time,” said Ian McIvor, organiser of the first Festival, adding: “We were very pleased with the way things turned out.”


When the event began, Muff was a relatively small local village and people mostly earned their living by farming. Travel was a luxury and holidays had to be enjoyed at home. In fact the annual Muff Summer Festival provided a rare opportunity for time-off from daily chores and for a bit of fun for all the family. In the present economic climate with oil prices soaring and the cost of travel getting very expensive, local festivals such as this are getting to be a more and more important as we find fun and games in our own communities


The list for things to do at the festival is long and there will be plenty to entertain all ages. Treasure hunts are planned for the youngsters and as usual there are lots of sports events to burn off those calories, unless you are just watching, then you could add a few pounds with the local cafes and restaurants promising to cater for everyone’s tastebuds. This year we will also see Fancy Dress and Bonny Baby competitions and of course the beautiful young women of Muff will be entering the Muff Rose. Keep an eye out for the Mayoral Campaign results and gardeners might be interested in who has won this year’s best Festival Garden.

Pet show
The Annual Pet Show will get into full swing on Saturday August 2nd at 2:00pm sharp in the Village Green. All pets are welcome with owners - cats, dogs, snakes, hamsters, elephants etc - this is promising to be a really fun event and if anyone has a camcorder I would recommend taking it along, just in case one of the rodents escape. There are also prizes for look-alikes (animals, I think but owners might qualify)! Another prize is for the prettiest pet in the show.

Soapbox Derby
Soapbox Derby’s are always good for a laugh and this year the organisers have decided to add this to the list of events. It will take place in Wheatfield Development in Muff on Saturday August 2nd at 6:00pm. So, what is a soapbox?. Well imagine getting hold of a lot of a lot of scrap, then hammering it together onto a set of wheels and careering down a steep hill as fast as possible. That’s a soapbox Derby. Of course there are some that will take things very seriously and will get the welding torches out and put air in the tyres. There will be strict safety measures in place though and only one cart will be allowed down the hill at any one time. This will make it easier to pick up the bits off of the road as they disintegrate in an effort to win the race. Get the Camcorder out… To enter in advance for this wacky event, or if you need any additional information please contact Emma at 086-2106201

It’s a Knockout
At the first festival back in 1982 the organiser set up an “Its a Knockout” event and it has run every year since. The teams that will have to endure challenging physical tests will consist of 6 people, both male and female. There will be two categories of under 12's and over 12. The knockout starts on Saturday August 2nd at 12:00pm so get your team ready. You can get practicing by throwing cold water over yourselves and rolling around on sheets of plastic then smearing yourselves with mud…

Home made goodies
One attraction that will get the taste buds tingling will be the Country Fayre on Saturday August 2nd. There will be locally produced veggies along with home baked goodies for you to either eat there or take home with you.

Get those photo’s in
The Photo Competition is sure to be a huge success this year and all photos will be on display in the field on Saturday. Judging will take place on Sunday August 3rd. The categories are under 16's and Open. You can submit an entry in person to Euro Style hair salon in Muff Village, or, alternatively you can email a copy of your photo to

In the bars
The evenings will be warm and cosy in the bars. The Carmen’s Inn, The Squealin’ Pig, The Rock Lounge and the Ture Inn will all be hosting live music. Check out the Events list for more details.


Well-known Muff resident Phyllis McKenna organised the out-door ceili for the first-ever Muff Festival and many years later she is still running the popular event, held in the car park.

1982, saw the first competition for Muff Festival Queen that was held in the Ture Inn and aroused a lot of interest. Open to “any female wishing to take part” the Festival Queen entrants were always accompanied by a young man well-turned out in white shirt, bow-tie and cummerbund and the winning Queen reigned for the year. Her first duty was to start the Muff mini-marathon on Saturday. Winning prizes and a bunch of fresh roses, the winning Queen of 1982 was crowned at the presentation dance at which the group ‘Caviar’ provided the music. Admission was £2.50 including supper!


The first Festival opened with a marching band procession. This was followed by a waltzing and jive competition. Things got even more heated when the Glamorous Granny contest started later in the day.

One festival event that hasn’t stood the test of time of the past is “Catching the greased piglet” We are not sure about the complexities of the event but we think it has something to do with getting a pig and covering it with grease. I am sure there was much laughter and diving in the mud as the local men tried to catch it (I can’t imagine a woman choosing to enter this competition, but if you know better…) For some unknown reason this is no longer considered an acceptable form of entertainment…or maybe you just can’t get the pigs anymore.

On one occasion, the then Parish Priest quietly queried whether young ladies entering the Lovely Legs Competition should be showing off their legs below the knee

The men’s Knobbly Knees Competition provided a good laugh for all on-lookers.

Another past event was the Mr and Mrs competition with the winning couple winning the grand prize of a meal for two.

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