The 36th annual Irish Fair of Minnesota was held at Harriet Island Regional Park along the Mississippi River on the 2nd weekend in August 2015. From the riverfront you can view the St. Paul skyline including downtown, the St. Paul Cathedral, Science Museum of Minnesota, Robert Street Bridge, Wabasha Bridge and the High Bridge. You also get to see the Minnesota Centennial Showboat and the Covington Bed and Breakfast riverboat. The Irish Fair takes over the park for 3 days of fun and music. From young Irish dancers, Irish dogs, local and word renown Irish bands, food and, of course, kilts. The wearing of the green and the kilts is for everyone this weekend.
The young Irish dancers put on an excellent demonstration for the crowds. Dancers from the St. Paul Irish Dancers, Eilis Irish Dance Academy, Green Fire Irish Dancers, O’Shea Irish Dance School and many more entertained the crowd from 9:30 A.M. until 5:30 P.M. From the tiny tots just learning to dance to the National Champions it is definitely a crowd favorite. Standing room only is common for this venue. You have to get there early to find a seat.
Even the rain couldn’t spoil the fun for the Tim Fitzgerald Piping Contest which presented not only marching bagpipe bands but individual performances as well. Named for Timothy Fitzgerald who was instrumental (no pun intended) in bringing Irish music front and center to the Irish community in St. Paul. ( http://www.startribune.com/tim-fitzgerald-was-proud-of-his-irish-roots/87293502/) His brother, sisters and mother were in attendance for judging the different bands and individuals who played for a chance to win the beautiful engraved crystal bowl. These amazing men and women played even though it was raining. Third place went to the all female pipe band. Brian Boru Piping Band came in second. The first place honors went to the Macalester College Pipe Band. This bagpipe band is comprised of students, alumni, and community members of the Macalester neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. .(http://www.macalester.edu/pipeband/)
The food and beverages were in great supply. From Guiness, Jameson and 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey they had plenty of beer and whiskey to go around. The chocolate chip cookies and milk are always a treat. The pulled BBQ pork sandwiches and juicy lucy burgers were mouthwatering. The merchandise vendors put on a great display of Irish wear and jewelry. Want to know your Irish genealogy? Visit the booth that specializes in making up your family charts. Want a kilt but don’t know about your family colors? Don’t worry they can help you out with that. Want the formal jacket to go with that kilt? They got you covered. Want a charm with your Irish family name? The jewelry vendors have 100’s of family names.
The Irish Fair never forgets the dogs of Ireland. Such beautiful dogs from the sheep herding dogs, the Irish setters, spaniels and the Irish wolfhounds.
No Irish fair would be complete without the Irish bread competition. The judges have such a hard job tasting all the bread, biscuits and scones. Maybe some of you would like to volunteer to help them out next year.
Almost every major city in the United States has an Irish Fair at sometime during the year. Check online for information for an Irish Fair near you. If you can’t find one, plan a trip to Minnesota the 2nd week of August. The fair is open from Friday evening until 11 PM, all day on Saturday until 11 PM , and until 8 PM on Sunday. Free passes are available for the light rail trains and buses for Minneapolis and St. Paul and there is a free shuttle bus available from Union Station to Harriet Island Regional Park from Friday to Sunday. Check the website for more information about the fair and for the link to the free transit passes for the event. ( http://www.irishfair.com/master-schedule)
For information on Irish genealogy visit: http://www.ancestry.comby