Rose of Tralee are looking for 'Rosebuds' aged 6 to 10

The Rosebuds are sponsored by McDonald's

Rose of Tralee are looking for 'Rosebuds' aged 6 to 10

Image: roseoftralee.ie

The Rose of Tralee festival is seeking girls aged six to 10 years as Rosebud applicants for the 2017 contest.

The Rosebuds accompany the adult Roses during the week of the festival.

John Drummey from the Rose of Tralee International Festival told Newstalk Breakfast: "They get to taker part in the parade, they get to have their own exclusive party with the Roses, they get their own little sash with their name on it...and they really get the VIP treatment during the week of the festival ultimately".

Mr Drummey says they had close to 400 applications last year, the majority of whom were from Kerry.

The initiative was started back in 2009 "to look ahead to the future of the festival", Mr Drummey added.

"It's something that we are generally inundated with request and information about right up until the time we start the application process.

"It's a huge aspect to the festival".

2016 Rose of Tralee Maggie McEldowney with host Dáithí Ó Sé | Image: Facebook/Rose of Tralee International Festival

Applications can be downloaded online, and will cost a €25 entry fee, €5 of which will be donated to Barretstown.

While those who are successful will be charged an additional €50 "to cover participation costs during the festival".

The Rosebud element is also sponsored by fast-food chain McDonald's.

Mr Drummey defended the process, saying: "Considering the festival costs in the region of €1m to put on - so what they get back is worth that and it's worth its weight in gold in terms of the fun and the excitement and the enjoyment that they get".

On having it sponsored by McDonald's and concerns over obesity, Mr Drummey said: "I've no issue with that at all - really I suppose it's down to what people choose to eat in their own daily lives.

"McDonald's as a local business and a local employer to the Rose of Tralee...McDonald's are very involved in supporting school tours in Tralee".

Applications close on May 24th at 5.00pm.