16th Annual Indy’s Irish Festival

Source: Erin O’Rourke, newsfromyou.indystar.com

Tuesday, Aug 30th, 2011

Indy’s Irish Fest returns to Military Park Sept. 16-18 for its 16th-annual celebration of the state’s Celtic heritage. Festival features include four stages of live Irish music and step dancing, as well as shopping, food, cultural and children’s activities, sporting events and more. More than 25,000 visitors are expected to attend during the three-day run.

“This year we have an incredible set of Ireland-based bands and musicians, said Terry Sweeney, Chairman of Indy’s Irish Fest. “Music is headlined by The Elders featuring Ian Byrne from County Wicklow, Ireland. The Elders perform high octane and progressive rock that is rooted in tradition. For those who enjoy traditional music, McPeake, based in Belfast and featuring Francis McPeake IV, brings 100 years of traditional Irish music to the festival. Fans throughout the world consistently rave about the authentic, fresh and dazzling experience of McPeake. Crowd favorites return to the festival this year as well, including award winning Celtic Spring, featuring six siblings who play fiddle and step dance and the Mickey Finns,” said Sweeney.

This year the festival honors Thomas Taggert posthumously as the honorary chairman. Taggert was the first Irish-born elected Mayor of Indianapolis and was largely responsible for developing the City’s park system. Two years after his death in 1929, the City erected a neoclassical monument. The memorial has been sadly neglected and stands lonely in Riverside Park. Indiana Landmarks placed the Thomas Taggart Memorial on the 2011 most endangered list. “By honoring former Mayor Taggert, we hope to focus light on the need to restore the monument and recognize the great accomplishments of one of Indianapolis’ early Irish American leaders,” said Sweeney.

Sports are highlighted throughout the weekend. On Saturday, see the national sport of Ireland on display with an Ireland versus the U.S. hurling match as well as a rugby game. On Sunday, attendees can participate in the Kilted Mile Run. In addition to music and sports, attendees will enjoy great food, cultural demonstrations and exhibits, outstanding shopping and plenty of activities for the whole family. The festival also continues to be affordable with advance sale tickets only $8 at Marsh Supermarkets and with the festival early bird free admissions on Friday and Sunday.

Festival Hours and Free Early Admission Details

  • Friday, September, 16, 4:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m. (Early Bird Free Admission: 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • Saturday, September 17, 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September, 18, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Early Bird Free Admission: 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. with 3 canned goods per person benefiting St. Vincent dePaul food bank)


More than 20 acts highlight the 2011 entertainment lineup which includes entertainers from Ireland and Canada, as well as national, regional and local bands. The festival is headlined by The Elders, McPeake, Tom Sweeney, Mickey Finns, Celtic Spring, The Prodigals and Mossy Moran. Bagpipers and nationally and internationally acclaimed step dancers also appear throughout the Fest.

Other Festival Highlights
Young and older visitors alike will enjoy plenty of family friendly activities during Fest weekend. Fun for adults includes the Irish Toast Contest on Saturday night. Throughout the weekend, the whole family can enjoy, sheep-herding exhibitions or stop by the Celtic Canine tents to see dogs representing Irish breeds such as Irish Glen of Imaal Terriers, Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Irish Water Spaniels, Irish Wolfhounds, Irish Red and White Setters and Kerry Blue Terriers.

Shoppers find plenty of temptations at an Irish market spotlighting the wares of 30 vendors selling merchandise from Ireland. In the mood for a little education? See cultural exhibits which include information Irish American Presidents, the history of Ireland, the Great Famine, origins of popular Irish songs, family genealogy, notable Irish women and local Irish and Scottish organizations.

Hungry visitors can choose from tempting treats such as Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, a variety of sandwiches, Irish soda bread and bread pudding, provided by Claddagh Irish Pubs, Murphy’s Steakhouse, Frank and Paddy’s Pub, Go Irish Club, Sahm’s, Dearly Yours and others.

On Sunday, a 10:30 a.m. Celtic Mass will be held at the Claddagh Irish Pub Stage. Gates open at 10 a.m. Visitors attending Mass or arriving prior to 11:30 a.m. receive free admission if they bring at least three canned goods per person to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.

Kids Activities
Youngsters can work off plenty of energy in the Kids Area, featuring a craft tent, storytelling, a coloring contest, Irish dance lessons and more. Wristbands, available for $5, admit kids to a special area complete with a Blarney castle moonwalk, a putt-and-go, an Olympic run, a bean-bag toss and other fun activities.

Adventurous kids can tackle the Cliffs of Moher rock-climbing wall ($5). On Sunday, kids compete for the reddest hair, greenest eyes and most freckles. The Kids Area is open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Ticket Prices
Indy’s Irish Fest ticket prices are:

  •  Adults (Advance Sale): $8/day
  •  Adults (Gate Price): $13/day
  •  Students (14-18 with Student ID): $10/day
  •  Children (13 and under): Free

Advance tickets can be purchased at Marsh Supermarkets, Claddagh Irish Pubs, O’Malia’s, O’Brien Family Automotive Dealerships, Golden Ace Inn and Murphy’s Steak House. Advance ticket sales for the 16th Annual Indy’s Irish Fest will be available August 29 and running through Sept. 18.

For more information, visit www.indyirishfest.com or call the Indy’s Irish Fest Information Line at (317) 713-7117.


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