The festival has something for everyone, with traditional Irish music, dancing, delicious food, an instrument-making demonstration, a bagpipes band, an exhibition of Irish dogs and much, much more.
Gaelic Storm, the band that rose to fame as it sank with the Titanic, will be one of the musical treats. The band, whose traditional tunes inspired Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet to dance the night away in a steerage scene in the film, were first approached in an Irish pub in Santa Monica, Calif. A customer in the pub told them that their music was perfect for an upcoming movie about the sinking of the ill-fated liner. Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength.
Also playing at the festival are Foster and Allen, the Irish duo who have traveled the world together for 25 years. Their recordings outsell everyone in England except the Rolling Stones.
Also delighting the crowds will be Brendan Shine, the Prodigals, Seven Nations, Tommy Makem, the Makem Brothers and the New Barleycorn. And making her U.S. debut will be Louise Morrissey from the Glen of Aherlow, Bansha. Other entertainers include Cherish the Ladies, Glen Curtin, Derek McCormack, the Pete Kelly Ceili Band, Paddy Reilly, the Kilroys, Dennis Doyle and many others.
For fans of Irish dancing, the festival will provide a veritable galaxy of dancing stars including 2002 step-dancing champion Tim Seeman.
The festival atmosphere will be celebrated as pupils from the Tessie Burke and Bobbie Masterson schools of dance dazzle the crowds with a variety of styles.
And in addition to the Irish singers and dancers, authors will be there, eager to meet and mingle with guests at the festival and to sign autographs.
In keeping with the festival’s tradition of maintaining the highest standards of craftsmanship, there will be opportunities to see instrument makers at work in the Celtic Heritage Hall.
And no Irish festival would be complete without bagpipes. Their distinctive sounds will be heard all over the Fairgrounds, calling people for impromptu parades.
Animal lovers will have the chance to meet the giant Irish Wolfhound and the tiny Glen of Imal dog.
Food connoisseurs can sample an array of specialty items prepared by festival chefs and children will have their own entertainment centers from 1:30-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with crafts, dancing, pony rides and Celtic-symbols drawing.
The festival opens on Friday, July 18, at 5 p.m. and continues until midnight. Saturday hours are 1 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 1-11:30 p.m.
Details, (216) 251-1711, (800) 485-8013, or www.clevelandirish.org.
Proceeds from the festival support the Holy Family Cancer Home and the Make a Wish Foundation.