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Fest in Joliet has Irish edge

Margaret Plunk prepares shamrock plants for children's craft Saturday's Celtic Fest. Plunk whose family owns Allied Nursery is from County

Margaret Plunk prepares shamrock plants for a children's craft at Saturday's Celtic Fest. Plunk, whose family owns Allied Nursery, is from County Kerry, Ireland. | Erin Gallagher~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 15, 2013 7:19AM



The melody of “Amazing Grace” being played on the bagpipes has caused many a person to pause.

But when the Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society, Chicago Police Department, play the ballad, and they turn up the tempo of the song, the sound rolls into a thunderous party tune fitting for a Celtic festival.

That is how the Third Annual Will County Celtic Fest is scheduled to kick off Saturday at St. Joseph Park, 1500 N. Raynor Ave., Joliet.

Opening ceremonies at noon feature Will County Executive Larry Walsh and State’s Attorney James Glasgow leading a moment of silence honoring Patriot Day and those who serve. Then, after the bagpipe and drum performance, the day is filled with live entertainment on two stages. The fest runs until 10 p.m.

“Celtic Fest is the best value around for families,” fest committee member Tim Brophy said.

Adults enter for $5, while children 12 and under are free, as are first responders, military, and members of the Irish American Society of County Will, the group presenting the fest.

All the activities, music and entertainment are included, and parking also is free.

The children’s area, sponsored by Allied Nursery, is packed with free games, races, bounce houses and crafts.

Margaret Plunk, who was born in Ireland and whose family owns Allied, donated 300 shamrock plants. Children will be able to create and decorate a self-watering planter and transplant the shamrocks to take home.

People of any age will find something enjoyable, according to Pete Hegarty, president of the Irish American Society. Keigher Irish Dancers will perform at 5:45 p.m. and spontaneously throughout the day. Royal Scottish Country Dance Society will perform at 3:30 p.m. Bands include Cutthroat Shamrock, Tallymoore, Reilly, John Condron & The Old Gang Orchestra, Colm O’Brien and The Ploughboys.

Attendees are invited to bring an instrument to the open Irish pub sessions at 2 and 4:30 p.m. in the Heritage Tent. The event is also serving as an all-class reunion for St. Patrick School.

Irish race driver Peter Dempsey and his car will be on hand all day for autographs and photos. Dempsey won the closest race in the history of the Brickyard in Indianapolis in May, beating the runner-up by just 0.0026 seconds.

Sports fans can take in a rugby lesson at 4:45 p.m. Visitors also can bid on Bulls tickets or an autographed photo of Mike Ditka in a silent auction.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.WillCountyCelticFest.com.



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