It’s July in the Mohawk Valley, which means the Great American Irish Festival is right around the corner.
The festival, which will take place at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds, will feature four different stages, including a contemporary and traditional stage with all-day entertainment. More than 30 Irish bands from across the country as well as international acts are scheduled to perform.
The festival will kick off from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 27, and will continue from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 28, and finally from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 29.
According to festival director Matt Sullivan, a bagpipe band competition will take place for grades four, five and six pipers, and a mass bagpipe march will take place Saturday afternoon. As part of the competition, bagpipers will be judged by the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.
The festival will offer a “Wee Folks” area, where children can enjoy bounce houses, face painting and a variety of games with prizes.
The “Teen Zone” will offer teenagers various games such as fooze ball, air hockey, Ping-Pong, volleyball and jousting.
For those who enjoy shopping there will be several vendors on site selling Irish and Celtic goods. Food, wine, and beer will also be available.
The Cultural Building at the Great American Irish Festival will have plenty to offer for this year’s theme — “Music, Poetry and Life.”
Returning will be Deirdre McCarthy’s “Imaginary Trip to Ireland,” the “Wonderful Dogs of Ireland,” workshops by the Irish American Cultural Institute of Central New York, wooden fretwork demonstrations by Dan Cook, and the photo contest.
Dance schools from throughout the region will provide guests with performances of step and social dancing as well as chances to participate in workshops and presentations.
New this year will be a presentation of Irish Zumba dancing, a quilt raffle and accompanying workshops and a workshop by Herkimer County Community College instructor Matt Powers on the poetry of the Elders.
The Ranger Run 5K will be take place at 10 a.m. July 28 at the fairgrounds. Registration can be done online or in person at the festival from 6 to 8 p.m. July 27 and from 8 to 9:30 a.m. July 28. Registration is $20 in advance and $30 the day of the race.
Awards will be given to the top male and female in different age categories. Those who participate will receive admittance into the festival.