By Grainne McCool @
The stage is set once more for the Muff Festival now in it’s 35th year – this is the time the little village of Muff in Inishowen comes alive for four days.
This weekend people return home from across the country and from overseas – and the community reunites with its diaspora around the world.
Muff Festival is set to bring a little lighted-hearted fun to what will in the end, prove to be a most competitive race on Sunday. That will be the most conflict you’ll see up this way.
Bog Hopper Brewery in Muff has helped introduce a very welcome addition to the event this year – the chance to ‘win your wife’s weight in beer’ if you complete the short obstacle course in the fastest time.
The rules state that if a man carries his wife – or someone else’s – over the short course dodging a selection of tricky obstacles, in the shortest time, they can trade her in for beer at the other end.
Áine Mullan of Bog Hopper Brewery said the idea was inspired by a cookery show she and her husband David watched on TV.
“We first got the idea when we were watching the Hairy Bikers touring Scandinavia and they featured a wife carrying contest,” she said. “I was seven months’ pregnant at the time and joked that hubby would win loads of beer carrying me…if only he was more buff.”
Mrs Mullan said the event is part of the brewery’s plan to combat ‘beer snobbery’
“This is the kind of event that perfectly captures the ethos of our brewery- encouraging people to try something new and fun whilst not taking themselves too seriously.”
“There’s been a big move to craft beer or artisan beer in this country over the past 10 years and there is some danger of beer snobbery becoming the new wine snobbery. We like to counteract that by injecting a little fun into the whole scene.”
Participants must consist of one man and one woman, both 18 or over, with the man carrying the woman. Female competitors will be be weighed prior to the competition and must weigh at least 50kg. If any lighter she will carry a backpack to bring the total carried weight to 50kg.
The Muff festival has evolved through the years but has remained tied to the early values of a community and family weekend with lots of quirky events.
Like previous years, 2016 will showcase many of the traditional events and will also include this year some cultural elements to represent the ever evolving community in the village and surrounding area.
Sport is a theme of this year’s festival. With the Euro’s just over and the Summer Olympics beginning shortly, it seemed rather fitting to run with this theme.
The opening parade on Friday evening will very much incorporate a party atmosphere, with floats parading through the village.
This weekend is free for children and a small fee is placed on some bigger events to help cover the cost of such events taking place.
A wide range of workshops will also take place over the weekend alongside the craft stalls, sporting events, cycling races, pet show, talent competitions, bake-off, It’s a Knockout and many many more.
Every year friends and family return to Muff to enjoy the fun filled Festival weekend. This year is no different.
Paul McCauley, from the neighbouring village of Quigleys Point, is one such returnee. Paul now lives in Birmingham and works as a teaching assistant.
But he isn’t returning home alone this year. He is bringing a number of his friends with him to enjoy the 2016 Muff Festival.
The men have been looking forward to visiting the village for a number of years and finally they will get to experience just what a Muff Festival really does behold.
Muff Festival takes place this year from Friday, July 29 to Monday, August 1.