The Colorado Irish Festival bring bring out your Irish this weekend, July 12-14, at Littleton's Clement Park, and the nineteenth annual version of the festival promises to immerse everyone, Irish or not, in Gaelic music, dancing, sports, food, history and culture.
"We're very fortunate to have a loyal fan base, who aren't shy about telling their friends, neighbors and co-workers about the festival and all of the events and activities associated with it," said Shelly O'Hara, the lead event planner for the CUIS.
"Young, old, Irish or not, everyone is invited to share in the festivities, food and fun, and contribute to a great cause while doing it," she says, adding that the biggest draws are likely to be the musical performers, the Paddy'O VIP area and the Cultural Village.
All of the proceeds from the festival benefit The Colorado United Irish Societies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Irish culture across Colorado.
"The Irish festival is a great wonderful way to showcase all things Irish," says festival manager Lora Knowlton." We will have a great roundup of entertainment for the weekend...and three Irish food vendors to get a taste of the Irish food."
The CUIS is currently comprised of organizations and businesses, many of which are also nonprofits. Each one will have a booth inside "The Cultural Village," an interactive look inside Irish Culture. Some of the booths include, legends of St. Patrick, bagpipes of Ireland, Irish wolfhounds and much more.
New this year will be the Irish Genealogy tent. Volunteer Irish genealogists will be on-site with family location maps and surname displays. Here people with Irish surnames can register their names and see where in Ireland they come from and their flag.
But the festival isn't just for people of Irish decent. "We promote Irish culture and history, but also education people about what it means to be Irish and tell them to embrace their heritage," Knowlton says.
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The event lasts from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and includes Sunday mass at 9 a.m. There is free admission before 6 p.m. on Friday. After that, tickets are $10. On Saturday, tickets are $15 (or $10 dollars for students and seniors) The festival takes place at Littleton's Clement Park.