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Family Fun Day report – July 2015

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Over night rains and the cancelling of the annual Reek Pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick were bad omens for the Cong Family Day.  However, miraculously the weather gods shined and over 300 people enjoyed a selection of indoor and outdoor family events.

Completed in October 2014, the centre demonstrated its capability to host large scale events with its 100 car parking spaces, easy access and almost 7,000 sq feet of indoor space so although the weather was dry there were plenty of indoor alternatives.

Upon arrival families were given the chance to test their skills on a ‘Mini Digger Time Challenge’ with expert instruction from Ross McGrath & Daniel Gibbons guiding them through picking up a football and dropping it into a basket.  A childhood dream finally completed for many parents in attendance.

Next up on the walk to the centre was the wonderfully placid pony from the Kiltimagh Pet Farm which offered many children their first opportunity to ride a horse through the grass.  Full safety gear was used and friendly staff from the farm patiently supervised and guided free rides all day.

A pair of Lamas added an exotic feel to the day and looked as bewildered as the onlookers.

David O’Loughlin & Karen Kirby from Ashford Outdoors spent the day expertly demonstrating the skill of archery with a long line of aspiring Robin Hoods.

The real benefit of the Crossroads really became apparent when you moved in-doors to one of the big halls, which easily accommodated a giant bounce castle and inflatable assault course.  Relieved parents could let their children burn off excess energy from the ‘summer memory inducing’ candy-floss while enjoying some delicious paella and roasted potatoes, both presented on giant festivalesque authentic cooking pans.

Making use of the other rooms and further building on the intimate nature of the centre, children were treated to a selection of exotic animals and offered the chance to hold and stroke a python snake amongst others.

No family day would be complete without local produce and a wide selection of seasonal jams and cakes were on show for purchase.

A real treat for parents and kids alike was the show by Ronaldo Fanzini http://www.fanzinibrothers.com – a combination of skillful juggling, mini acrobatics, daring unicycle maneuvers with daggers, bunny hopping on an impossibly small bicycle and spaceball jumping over volunteers.  The real joy was the wonderful interaction, energy and full on wit and theatrics by the ‘Master of Mayhem’ that was rewarded by spontaneous laughter, smiles and plenty of audience participation.

Days like this need lots of planning and the easy going relaxed feel of the day is only possibly as every last detail has been planned out and executed by the tireless voluntary committee.

In the middle of one of the wettest Julys on record the centre really shone through in its ability to easily host large community building, happy memory making family days regardless of the weather.