Irish Festival this weekend
Irish American culture, entertainment and food will fill the Bavarian Gardens at the German American Social Club today and Sunday as the Cape Coral Irish American Club hosts its seventh annual Irish Festival.
“We are ready … we are ready to rock and roll,” said Bud Martin, Cape Coral Irish American Club president and festival chairman.
Members of the club are hoping that the weather remains nice this weekend to attract a record crowd.
“We set a goal of 10,000 people this year,” he said, an increase of 2,000 people from last year’s event. “We hope we do reach that.”
He said when he took over the festival three years ago, he changed the location to the Bavarian Gardens, which has worked out really well.
“It has been very successful the last couple of years,” he said. “It has really taken off because of the location.”
The club was founded in 2003 to provide information about the Irish culture to the community through education of Irish history, art, dance, music, poetry, folklore and more.
Martin said the festival began to help promote the Irish culture to Cape Coral during the two-day event.
“We have a full schedule of Irish entertainment both days,” Martin said about the dancers and individuals playing the pipes.
He said they also will also have children’s games, including pony rides and great food.
Entertainers will include The Screaming Orphans, the Lee County Pipes and Drums, Tommy Barr, Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy, Celtic fiddler Emily Ann Thompson, Kathy and Andreas Durkin, Harry Boyle, West of Galway, Irish Cream and Brian Bonner.
The menu will include corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, potato pancakes, sausage and peppers, along with hot dogs for the children.
In addition to food, there will be face painting, games and pony rides for the “young ones,” Martin said, adding that they also will educate the children about the Irish culture.
On Sunday morning, a Roman Catholic Mass will begin in the Bavarian Gardens at 11 a.m., with the festival beginning directly after the service is over.
Martin said the club is looking for a nice turnout.
Although it is an Irish festival, he said it is open to everyone.
A portion of the proceeds raised during the festival will go towards various organizations that the club supports. Martin said some of those organizations include the local chapter of the ALS Association, Organ Transplant Recipients of Southwest Florida and Army of Hope.