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Irish American Festival set for today and Sunday

By Staff | Mar 7, 2009

It’s time to dance, sing, and drink plenty of libations!
The Irish American Festival returns for a fifth year of celebrating Irish culture. Hosted by the Cape Coral Irish American Club, the festival will be held this year at the Bavarian Gardens of the German American Social Club.
Past years have seen the festival held at Cultural Park, but this year’s move will hopefully help the event to grow.
“This is a good location and we really do expect more people,” said Mary O’Neill, Irish American Club spokeswoman. “It has so many benefits: there’s lighting, shade, a stage, and seating for 1,000 people.”
O’Neill was busy getting the last-minute preparations together on Friday, but said everything was falling into place the event should go off without a hitch Saturday.
O’Neill did warn there would be no imported Irish beer, but said there was no reason to worry.
Supplied by Budweiser, there will be plenty of “comparable beers” that should keep brew seeking revelers happy all weekend long.
“There’s not going to be any imported Irish beer, but they are having beers that are very similar,” O’Neill said. “There’s one called Bare Knuckle Stout, which is supposed to be the same as Guiness. They’re even going to have a special spoon to help pour.”
Incorporated in 2003, the Cape Coral Irish American Club was formed as a response to those in the community who wished for club to help celebrate their heritage.
The club’s focus, of course, is to celebrate and teach Irish history, art, dance, music, poetry, and folklore.
Indeed, performance and dance will be a main focus of the festival, with live entertainment all day during the two day event.
O’Neill said she’s received several calls about the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, adding that the Mass has become a beloved part of the ceremony.
“People will show up for the Mass and stay at least a couple of hours,” O’Neill said. “It’s been a part of the festival since our first year.”
The Fifth Annual Irish American Festival kicks off today and runs from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., times are the same for Sunday.