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  cover story - august 2014

key cover34th Milwaukee Irish Fest turns
Summerfest grounds green August 14-17

FOR FOUR DAYS this month Milwaukee’s lakefront festival grounds will look, sound and taste like an extension of the Emerald Isle.

Recognized as the largest celebration of Irish culture in North America, Milwaukee Irish Fest Aug. 14-17 brings visitors from around the world to Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds) for a celebration of Irish and Celtic music, culture, dance, sports, food, shopping and much more.

Using almost all of the 75-acre grounds on the city’s lakefront, the festival offers 16 stages of live entertainment with more than 100 acts. At the festival’s massive Cultural Village visitors can trace their Irish roots, learn the Irish language or take in a live theater performance and participate in many other activities, often led by residents of Ireland and other Celtic nations.

“If you want to experience the Emerald Isle – or if you’re just looking to have a great time with family and friends – Irish Fest is the place to be this August,” said Patrick Boyle, executive director of Milwaukee Irish Fest. “Our diverse offering of Irish music, culture and family entertainment makes Milwaukee the next best thing to Ireland itself.”

Here are highlights that festgoers can experience this year:

Music from around the globe
Music always takes center stage at Milwaukee Irish Fest. Festival planners bring the best and brightest groups, from Celtic rockers to traditional Irish balladeers. This year’s lineup includes artists from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Nova Scotia, Canada and other Celtic nations.

Fan favorites include the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Carlos Núñez, StepCrew, We Banjo 3, Creel, Skerryvore, Mànran, Sythian, Gaelic Storm and Sharon Shannon. Also returning is The Willis Clan, a band that’s currently competing on the hit TV show, America’s Got Talent.

Irish and Celtic culture
Milwaukee Irish Fest celebrates all aspects of Irish and Celtic art, language, theater, sports and dance. In the Cultural Village, visitors also can shop at the Moore Street Market, which hosts the largest gathering of Irish vendors in the world.

Traditional sounds of Scotland
This year, Milwaukee Irish Fest hosts a special Scotland Music Showcase celebrating the richness of Scotland’s diverse traditional music. Eight Scottish bands will perform.

key coverBrian Boru Millennium Celebration
Milwaukee Irish Fest joins commemorations taking place across Ireland this year in celebration of the first modern ruler of Ireland, Brian Boru Dalcassian. Genealogists, historians, music experts, bow makers and chefs will present medieval exhibits, lectures and demonstrations.

Food & spirits
The Celtic Kitchen is an exciting new exhibit that celebrates Irish and Celtic food. The Celtic Kitchen will host live shows each day focusing on a variety of food and beverage favorites, including tea, baked goods and fresh fish. When the show is over, visitors can stop by one of the many food vendors throughout the grounds, or visit the Jameson Lounge for a signature drink like a Jameson and Ginger, Celtic Breeze or Jamerita.

Sports & family fun
The sports activity area introduces festgoers to hurling, currach racing and competitive tug-of-war. They can try hurling in the hitting cage or watch currach boat races on the lagoon. Each year the tug-of-war area finds fans of all ages cheering for teams from throughout the Midwest.

Milwaukee Irish Fest also features a large Children’s Activity Area, which includes a Leprechaun Village, Highland Games, Tea Room, Pot O’ Gold and a large craft area. New for 2014, kids can participate in a Viking Dig. Ongoing entertainment for kids includes Irish dancers, music, magicians and more. To help keep families entertained, the festival offers the Passport to Fun program that encourages kids to make crafts, see Irish dance performances and even pet dogs in the Celtic Canine area.

Milwaukee Irish Fest hours are 5-10 p.m. Aug. 14; 4 p.m.-midnight Aug. 15; noon to midnight Aug. 16 and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Aug. 17. General admission is $17 for adults and $12 for seniors (60+). Children under 12 are free.

Milwaukee Irish Fest offers a number of promotions that allow free or reduced entry to the grounds. There are also special discounts for students, military personnel and their families. To learn more about these discounts and promotions, visit and click on the Festival Info tab.

To plan your visit to North America¹s largest celebration of Irish entertainment and culture, visit, call (414) 476-FEST, or connect with the festival on Facebook or Twitter. Sláinte!




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