Celtic Fest celebrates all things Irish, with a spin
By Erin Gallagher For The Herald-News September 26, 2012 2:50PM
The band Reilly will perform Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, at the Will County Celtic Fest. | submitted photo
If you go …
What: Will County Celtic Fest
When: 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: St. Joe’s Park, 700 Theodore St. in Joliet
Cost: $5, children 12 and under admitted free
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:55AM
JOLIET — It’s been more than 30 years, and many festivals have come and gone. Still, the Irish American Society of County Will is keeping the Irish culture alive throughout the area.
This time, they are putting a new spin on an old theme.
The society is taking a turn at hosting the Will County Celtic Fest on Saturday at St. Joe’s Park. Historically, the group had accomplished the successful Manhattan Irish Fest, and Irish Heritage Days as early as the 1980s.
According to the bylaws, the society’s purpose is to promote all-things Irish, said Mike McHugh, membership chairman.
With Saturday’s fest, that is exactly what the group is doing. The day kicks off with a feis, an Irish dancing competition. Dancers of all ages will compete in brightly colored, embroidered costumes.
Starting at noon, local musician John Condron leads a quality lineup of performers. The bagpipes of the Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums will summon crowds at 1:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The group of active and retired firefighters has a 150-year tradition of providing musical support for police and firefighters who fell in the line of duty.
Irish step dancing returns at 2 p.m. with Keigher Academy of Irish Dance. The band, Reilly, rocks contemporary Irish music with a twist on the classics.
Starting the evening lineup at 5:30 p.m. is The Ploughboys, considered purveyors of Irish musical mayhem. Then at 7 p.m., Cutthroat Shamrock, who describe themselves as “if bluegrass and punk rock walked into an Irish pub and got kidnapped by pirates.” Finally, the Detroit Celtic rock band completes the night starting at 9 p.m.
However, there is nothing final about the activities.
The society has always emphasized family events, and this year is no different. The children’s area will be busy with a magician at 1 p.m., and a petting zoo from 2 to 6 p.m. All day will feature a bounce house and face painting. Then from 3 to 5 p.m. will be a dog show, featuring the Irish wolfhound and other Celtic breeds. Kids 12 and under are admitted free.
Ireland’s winning Indy Lights race driver Peter Dempsey will be on location all day signing autographs. There will also be great food, as well as Irish and Scottish vendors. Admission costs $5. For more information, click to www.WillCountyCelticFest.com.