Nearly 2,500 gingers from around the globe are expected to arrive at the small seaside village of Crosshaven, Co. Cork, this weekend for the Seventh Annual Irish Redhead Convention.
The celebration of redheads, taking place August 19-21, will include carrot tossing, freckle counting, tugs of war pitting gingers vs. non-gingers, ginger speed dating, and redhead-themed seminars and exhibitions. The MOGO (Music of Ginger Origins) Awards will honor the best redhead musicians in the world, while the Ginger Jig will set the record for the largest group of redheads taking part in a Ceili dance.
Also new this year is the Great Redhead Road Trip, a 10-day guided bus tour of red-related things in Ireland. The journey, which starts in Dublin, is being held from August 15-24 and concludes with the convention.
Ireland, with a 10 percent ginger constituency, has the second-highest concentration of redheads in the world after Scotland, which has 13 percent.
The yearly convention started as a joke between two siblings and has since grown into an extraordinary festival attracting hundred of gingers from all over Ireland and the world. In 2010, Joleen Cronin was planning a birthday party for her brother Denis, and the siblings, both redheads, came up with the idea to invite only gingers to the party, with gingerbread men instead of a cake, orange and red floral bouquets for decorations, and an election for a king and queen of Gingerdom. When Denis’s birthday arrived on Aug 21, they were astonished when 350 gingers showed up.
The event quickly became a space where gingers could celebrate their uniqueness.
“We saw there were empowering things happening, and we knew we had hit on something a bit special,” Joleen told KPTV.
“Sometimes I question my sanity,” she said. “It’s an enormous amount of work. But it’s become a village-wide event with all the businesses involved.
“I’m always going bonkers about it and never get to sit and have a drink,” she said. “But we’ve brought thousands of people to the village.”
The convention also raises funds for the Irish Cancer Society with 30 percent of the event’s proceeds going to the charity. Because gingers are particularly susceptible to sun-related cancers, the event aims to raise awareness around skin cancer, the most common cancer in Ireland.
You can find out more about the festival at www.redheadconvention.ie.
Check back at IrishCentral for more exclusive coverage after the convention.