All roads lead to Irvinestown next week when the Lady of the Lake festival returns.

The annual festival, a joyous time in the summer calendar, again promises to entertain, amuse and create great community spirit.

All of the festival's classic events will return when festivities begin next Thursday, July 11.

The committee will be hoping for viral success at the festival when TikTok star and comedian, Black Paddy, arrives in Irvinestown for what will be his first appearance as part of the Monster Burger Eating Competition, organised by Miller Meats.

The competition will see celebrities such as Black Paddy and a host of a few more local celebrities taking on the mammoth task of finishing the burger, which weighs a whooping three kilos.

The burger patty on its own weighs one kilo, and no doubt there will be several meaty tales from this event.

Following this event, the festival will officially open with the unveiling of the 2024 Lady of the Lake, where there will be a whole host of wonderful events taking place on the Main Street.

On Friday, July 12, the annual County Fermanagh Twelfth of July demonstrations will take place in the town.

The parade will begin in Necarne Castle and head to Thompson’s Field, Kesh Road for the religious service.

The fun will continue on July 13 with a range of activities, including a Clay Pigeon Shoot; the Festival Bonny Baby competition, sponsored by Gordon’s Chemist, at the Bawnacre Centre from 2pm; the Irvinestown Pet Show, at the Bawnacre Centre Car Park, sponsored by Three Valley Vets at 3pm; and the Necarne Run, Walk and Stroll for fun, in aid of the Aisling Centre, Enniskillen and the MS Society, which takes place from 5-6pm.

The ever-popular Donkey Derby Meeting will be held on Sunday, July 14 at 2.30pm at the Castle Irvine Estate.

The event, sponsored by Fermanagh County Show, is always popular and will no doubt attract great participation and an intrigued audience.

Later, a walking tour of Castle Archdale will take place from 3pm, and the evening will see a special cross-community and inter-denomination service held at the historic White Island at 6.30pm.

In the evening, there will be great music to be enjoyed in venues across the town.

The Lady of the Lake Car Treasure hunt will take place on Monday, July 15 at 7pm, and promises to be an interesting experience for all involved.

Tuesday, July 16 will see a sports day as a variety of events take place including a soccer skills competition, a taster session for Pickleball, and the annual 10/5k run. Registration for the run will open at 4pm onwards.

The traditional Fair Day will return on Wednesday, July 17 at Necarne Castle from 12pm, and there will be some great sights and sounds on the day, as ever.

There will be carriage driving, stalls and crafts, a traditional hiring fair, poitin making, a pedicure for horses and donkeys, and a parade of vintage tractors.

In a special new event for 2024, the Lady of the Lake festival will attempt to find Ireland’s Sexiest Man as they host this competition for the first time.

One of the most popular events for families, the fancy dress parade will take place on Thursday, July 18 with the theme of ‘The Greatest Show’.

No doubt, there will be some fantastic costumes as Irvinestown comes to life with creativity and fun.

There will be live music from the Senators and street entertainment from mascots, marching bands and floats.

Friday, July 19 evening will see the annual vintage vehicle parade, sponsored by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, at 7.30pm.

Events will start at 7pm with a performance in the town by the Hard to Beat band.

Then at 10.30pm, the festival of lights will take place where there will be a parade of lit-up trucks that will be led by a torch-lit parade from the Irvinestown Community Mummers, in what will be a truly tremendous occasion.

The penultimate day of the festival - Saturday, July 20 - will see the arrival of the trucks for the annual Lady of the Lake Truck Convoy, in aid of Marie Curie. 

In the truck car park, there will be a range of craft and trade stalls as the truckers are welcomed into Irvinestown.

At 3pm, the World Hole Digging Competition will take place as those taking part in the competition try to dig the biggest hole in half an hour.

The final day of the festival will see the iconic charity truck convoy leave Irvinestown and head on their journey around Fermanagh in aid of Marie Curie cancer care.

The trucks will leave Irvinestown at 2.30pm and travel via Lisnarick, Ederney, Kesh, Enniskillen and Ballinamallard.