Manhattan’s Irish Fest gets a jump on St. Patrick’s Day festivities
By Erin Gallagher Correspondent February 28, 2014 12:36PM
You don't have to play in Texas to want to hear the fiddle in this band. Reilly hails from Milwaukee, one of America's pulsing Irish music scenes. The group is performing at Manhattan Irish Fest on Saturday, March 1, at 3 p.m. | Supplied photo
Updated: March 1, 2014 10:55AM
Getting a jump on St. Patrick’s Day is as easy as a trip to Manhattan. The village kicks off March with an Irish Fest filled with two days of entertainment starting Friday at the entertainment tent, in Central Park, located at 110 S. Park Street.
The weekend starts off at 5:30 p.m. with Irish music, followed by the presentation of the grand marshall, king and queen at 8 p.m. Headlining Irish rock band, Whiskey of the Damned, plays from 8:30 p.m., with last pour at 10:30 p.m.
Saturday is the big day in Manhattan. Starting with Irish breakfast at St. Joseph Parish Center, 275 W. North Street, from 8-10:30 a.m and Mass at 8:30 a.m. Prepared by Connolly’s Catering, breakfast consists of egg bake, bangers, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, black pudding, white pudding, coffee, orange juice and milk. Tickets are $8 a person. Irish musicians and singers will perform, along with Sullivan School of Irish Dance, according to organizer Lori Deloian.
Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus and Irish dancers will act as honor guard, with an Irish bagpiper. Green carnations will be passed out after the Mass, courtesy of Lincolnway Florist, Deloian said.
Stop over to Anna McDonald School, 200 Second Street, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a craft fair, sponsored by the Manhattan Women’s Club. Lunch will available through Boy Scout Troop 155.
Registrants in the 5 K run will start the parade at 11 a.m., running along the same route ahead of floats, according to race organizer, Steve Koven. The parade starts at 11:10 a.m. Head back to the entertainment tent for bagpipers, followed by Three Men in Kilts.
A fiddle to be reckoned with, Milwaukee’s Celtic rock band, Reilly, performs at 3 p.m., followed by Finbar MacCarthy. Fisticuffs will end the night, starting at 7:45, with last pour at 9:30 p.m.
The entertainment tent is 21 and over on Friday and after 5 p.m. Saturday. However, kids have their own party central in the Manhattan Park District Rec Center, 397 State Street. Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. will be a DJ dance, with hula hoop contests, bean bags, ping pong and card games. Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. will have sand art, sports games, bracelet making, finger painting and more, according to Bridget Forsythe, park district vice president.
Admission buttons are required for both the entertainment tent and the kids area. They can be purchased in advance at Manhattan businesses for $7 or at the door $10. Kids under 7 are free.
The entertainment tent has been the main feature for Manhattan’s Irish Fest for two decades.
This year, for people who don’t want to fight the weather to walk to it, there are plenty of other options around town that do not require a fest admission button.
Also Friday at Gallagher’s Pub, 160 E. North Street (Manhattan-Monee Road), will have DJ Nova from 9.p.m. to 2 a.m. Further south of town the Bit O’Blarney Pub, 525 S. State Street (U.S. 52) will have live music from Alex Hoffer. Fritz’s Saloon, 225 S. State Street (U.S. 52) will feature Whitey O’Day from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Manhattan’s Irish roots date back long before it incorporated in 1886, said Mayor Jamie Doyle. Many of the founding families who were Irish immigrants, still have descendants here.
“(Irish Fest) is about the music, it’s about the people, it’s about the family,” Doyle said.