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Published: 06 July 2016 Omagh's premier tourist attraction has marked its 40th birthday with a busy week of celebrations at the Ulster American Folk Park outside Omagh.

Almost 2,000 visitors flocked to the award-winning museum on Wednesday 6th July to enjoy a packed programme of activity for the milestone anniversary. With fire-jugglers, stilt walkers, musicians and horse and cart rides, the bumper day followed three days of celebrations for the American Independence Day weekend. During the anniversary festivities, visitors also enjoyed the chance to be witness the sights, sounds and smells of a typical 1800s market day on Ulster Street.

Since opening in 1976, the Ulster American Folk Park has been transporting visitors back across three centuries of Irish emigration. The journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster to the log cabins of the America Frontier, through the impressive full scale emigrant sailing ship, lets visitor experience first-hand the emotional journey that thousands of emigrants undertook across the Atlantic.

Welcoming over 125,000 local and international visitors last year, the museum’s picturesque exhibit buildings are as famous as its welcome with costumed guides playing colourful characters that lived by the hearths and corn fields of the Old and New worlds.

We were delighted to welcome visitors to the Ulster American Folk Park

Speaking about the 40th anniversary celebrations, Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums Northern Ireland said "We were delighted to welcome visitors to the Ulster American Folk Park today as we celebrated our fortieth birthday. What makes this museum so unique is that we are a living history museum and visitors can interact with our guides, performers and musicians to fully appreciate just how people would have felt when they were emigrating back in the 1800s."

"Over the past 40 years, we have attracted millions of visitors from all over the world who have loved the experiences, galleries and exhibits we have to offer. This summer, for example, we have an exhibition of Frank McKelvey drawings of American Presidents with Ulster heritage as well as the much anticipated International Bluegrass Music Festival which is marking its 25th year, and has grown to be one the biggest Bluegrass music events outside of North America."

Taking place from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September, the Ulster American Folk Park’s Bluegrass Music Festival is once again set to attract some of the biggest names in bluegrass music, making it a huge hit for the thousands of visitors who make their way to the museum from overseas every year.

Supported by Tourism NI and as part of the Year of Food & Drink, organisers of the Bluegrass Music Festival are including a new food element to the 2016 event with fusion cookery demonstrations from celebrity chefs using the best of Northern Irish produce.

For more information and ticket prices please visit www.nmni.com/uafp.

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