Ireland's Rose of Tralee Festival
Ireland's Rose of Tralee International Festival is one of the country's most famous and longest running festivals. In 2008, the festival celebrates its 49th anniversary, which is held in Tralee, County Kerry. This international event is open to young women of Irish descent from Ireland and across the globe. It is centered around the selection of the coveted Rose of Tralee, which is based on the famous Irish song of the same name.

Each year more than 30 representatives arrive in Tralee, after winning their regional competitions. The festival includes the Rose selection, a carnival, a fashion show and live concerts. Visitors at the festivities are welcomed by each of the individual Roses. The streets of the town are transformed by the gaiety of the events, including parades, music, a circus, a fun fair, markets and live performances.

Each of the Roses takes time to partake in local attractions in Tralee and meet their supporters in the town center. They also participate in the three parades scheduled on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night of the festival. On Tuesday night the Midnight Madness parade is led by the newly crowned Rose of Tralee, followed by a magnificent fireworks display.

The much anticipated International Gala Rose Ball is the first event scheduled with over 900 guests. They will enjoy a five course meal and entertainment, followed by a dance with the International Roses and other distinguished guests. The Newbridge Silverware Fashion Show is extremely popular. Many famous designers and salons show their latest creations, presented by models from the Celia Holman Lee Agency.

The pièce de résistance is the Rose of Tralee selection on the last two days of the festival. Irish television station RTÉ broadcasts directly from the Festival Dome, hosted by Ray D'Arcy. Those watching at home, throughout the country and around the world, see the Roses for the first time. Family, friends and supporters pour into the 2,000 seat venue and the atmosphere is filled with excitement as they cheer for their favorite rose.

The festival also provides family entertainment with Fossetts' circus, Birds' Fun Fair and marching bands. Late night entertainment includes dance bands and the 'Party With the Roses' disco where you might have a dance with your favorite Rose.

The 2008 Rose of Tralee International Festival runs from Friday, August 22nd to Tuesday, August 26th, filled with five days of entertainment, magic and roses.

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