Will County Celtic Fest on tap for weekend fun
By Erin Gallagher Correspondent September 3, 2014 4:08PM
Headliner act from Milwaukee, Whiskey of the Damned, will perform Celtic rock Saturday at 8:45 p.m. at the Tilted Kilt Miller Lite main stage at Will County Celtic Fest at St. Joe's Park in Joliet. | Supplied photo
Updated: September 5, 2014 2:10AM
There will be kilts-a plenty at the fourth annual Will County Celtic Fest on Saturday and Sunday.
Hosted by the Irish American Society of County Will, this is the first year the fest has expanded to two days. In its first three years, it was Saturday only. Because the event is held at St. Joe’s Park in Joliet, many park regulars have shown up for weekly Sunday fests held by different church groups and other organizations. Celtic Fest organizers decided to expand to Sunday to have something for those regulars.
What started out as just light activities Sunday has shaped into a second, nearly full day, according to chair Mic Brophy. Saturday still will have a little more, he said.
For example, Saturday has a second stage, the Guinness Heritage Tent. It will have a full lineup of entertainment Saturday, such as a bagpipe demonstration and bluegrass performances. That stage won’t have performances Sunday, though.
Both days will feature traditional Irish music, bagpipes and Irish step dancers. All weekend, there will be a combination of local talent and national acts on the Tilted Kilt Miller Lite main stage, according to Eric Johnson. Johnson’s company, Flipside Works, organized the entertainment lineup.
Headlining this year is Whiskey of the Damned, a band out of Milwaukee that has continued to grow in talent each year, Johnson said. It has performed at Manahttan Irish Fest and has a local following.
Southlanders may know Alex Hoffer, who performs at 7 p.m. Sunday, and John Condron, who plays at 5 p.m. Saturday. Anne Hatfield is another local, made famous by performing the violin with the Trinity Irish Dancers and touring with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. New Lenox resident Casey Moss is a new-to-the-scene guitarist and will open from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Moss said he is known for performing classic rock and blues music that is popular in new and creative ways. For example, he uses his guitar as a drum during a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”
Other national acts include Colm O’Brien from Dublin, via Boston. O’Brien made a name for himself playing with the Prodigals. Other top performers include the Ploughboys, Allison Flood and Cutthroat Shamrock.
The Allied Nursery Children’s Area is featuring plant-a-shamrock and numerous other activities both days. Ron Plunk Jr., whose family owns Allied Landscaping and Nursery, said that these events are critical to promoting Irish culture, especially because the Irish American Society promotes student scholarships.
“This is my heritage,” said Plunk, whose mother, Margaret Plunk, is from County Kerry, Ireland.
The kids area will have touch-a-truck, face painting, crafts, and bounce houses both days. Saturday also will have extra carnival-style rides and games, including an inflatable climbing wall adn a toddler-size Ferris wheel. There will be a Wee Folk Area surrounded by straw bales for toddler-sized activities.
The fest is open from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.
On Sunday, there will be Mass in the grotto at 11 a.m., with gates open from noon to 8 p.m. Adult admission is $7 and $3 for chilcren ages 5 to 12. Kids four and younger are admitted free. All activities are included in the price of admission.