The 4th Annual Annapolis Irish Festival kicked off with a bang yesterday afternoon. As 4pm rolled around, thousands of festival-goers poured into the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds to see their favorite traditional and progressive Irish bands including The Gothard Sisters, Screaming Orphans, Albannach, Scythian, and Gaelic Storm.
And speaking of storms…not a real one in sight; but the organizers were not taking any chances as the main stage and seating area was covered by a 25,000 square foot tent which was surprisingly cool and refreshing. And everyone had a blast!
The fun and merriment continues today with more than a hundred great food and merchandise vendors and of course the entertainment. Tickets are $20 and are still available online–you avoid a line at the gate (there will be one) but pay a small fee. Children 12 and under are free and they are welcome into the Little Leprechaun Land what will have pony rides, jumping castles, face painting, entertainment, and much more.
While the festival is the idea of a local man, Eddie McGowan (guitar and bagpipes for Dublin 5), it is a true community event. Katcef Brothers, our local beer distributor, helped to lobby Budweiser to be the presenting sponsor. Galway Bay from Maryland Avenue sponsors a stage as does Fado, and The Greene Turtle. You will see local food from Mother’s Peninsula Grill, Glazey Days Donuts, and Lisa’s Luncheonette.
McGowan knows about giving back to the community in which he grew up (Broadneck High/Towson graduate). Each year, the event donated tens of thousands of dollars to local non-profits. This year, their cumulative donation will well exceed $100,000. The goal was $100K in 5 years–and they left that in the dust by the wonderful support of the community. So it is a true community event.
The weather today is beautiful and the music will be playing till 11pm tonight! Hope to see you at the festival!