The Pride of Glenavy LOL 618 and Lanaway Rural Development and Cultural Society have come together to host a Festival to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the commencement of the First World War in Glenavy village.
The Festival will run from September 4 - 7 with a variety of different day time and evening events and LOL 618 Worshipful Master Aaron Harbinson hopes that it will attract people of all ages and from all sections of the community.
He commented: “At the outbreak of war in 1914 all sections of the community in what was then Ireland set aside their domestic strife to sign up to fight amongst the Entente Powers, predominantly as part of the 16th (Irish), 10th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions and we feel it is important that the sacrifice of so many can be remembered and honored in a similar way 100 years on.”
The Festival itself kicked off on Thursday with a World War I concert and sing-a-long in Glenavy Methodist Church at 8pm and featured the Sir George White Memorial Flute Band and Harmony Ladies Choir.
On Friday 5 a special living history day has been organised for pupils from six local schools, who will get to see a unique exhibition of World War I artifacts and memorabilia as well as receiving a talk and demonstration by a World War I historian.
That night a group of young people from the Glenaidan Centre have also been invited to come along and see the exhibition and hear a lecture on the war and its wider impact.
Saturday September 6 will be the main day of the Festival with an open exhibition of photos, artifacts, memorabilia and much more from 11am-3pm at Glenavy Protestant Hall.
Noel Bothwell Chairman of Lanaway Rural Development and Cultural Society said: “We are really looking forward to providing this exhibition and open day to the people of the village.
“Unfortunately in recent years the War Memorial and other buildings within the village have been attacked and I believe that comes from a lack of understanding as to what they represent.
“This exhibition gives people the chance to come along and learn what those who are named on such memorials did and why they are there and we hope that this experience will help to educate and create a greater understanding.”
On the day there will also be a World War I drill re-enactment and cream tea refreshments available.
Sunday will see the close of the Festival with a parade and Drum Head Service including an act of remembrance at 3pm.
The organisers have extended a very warm welcome to everyone to come along and sample their history. Aaron added: “This is the first time we have held anything of this nature in the village and we encourage everyone to come along, engage, learn and enjoy it with us.
“We have much to be proud of in respect of what so many people from these shores gave during World War I.”
LOL 618 and Lanaway Rural Development and Cultural Society would also like to thank Lisburn City Council who have part funded the Festival.