Annapolis Irish Festival a tremendous success

| July 14, 2014 | 1 Comment

Over two days, the air over Annapolis was filled with guitars, drums, keyboards, and bagpipes!  Yes, the 4th Annual Annapolis Irish Festival was held at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds and it did not disappoint the nearly 30,000 people that attended.

The festival was a 2-day festival that opened on Friday afternoon featuring food, vendors and entertainment. The vendors included typical celtic vendors and the food featured local favorites such as Mother’s Peninsula Grill, Brian Boru Irish Pub, Killarney House, Glazey Days Donuts, and Galway Bay.  But the main attraction was the entertainment.

There were plenty of regional (and even local) bands and dance companies playing on three stages.  The lineup this year included:

  • Carbon LeafAIF-2014-Friday-084
  • Gaelic Storm
  • Albannach
  • Scythian
  • Dublin 5
  • Screaming Orphans
  • Kilmaine Saints
  • The Gothard Sisters
  • Seamus Kennedy
  • The Moxie Strings
  • The ShamRogues
  • The Fighting Jamesons
  • Brendan’s Voyage
  • Chesapeake Caledonian Pipes and Drums
  • Broesler School of Irish Dance
  • Culkin School of Irish Dance
  • Maple Academy of Irish Dance
  • Teelin School of Irish Dance

 

Three stages were set up around the fairgound with the main stage, sponsored by The Greene Turtle, housed under a 25,000 square foot tent–think domed football stadium!

Irish music acts are very tight and many of the sets of one band were joined by members of another. And there was little chance you would miss your favorite as the acts all played multiple sets at different times on different stages.  Perhaps one of the best surprises was the unannounced appearance by the St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church Choir. They opened up for Dublin 5 with a traditional Irish prayer and then launched into song only to have Dublin 5 kick it up a notch when the choir tossed their robes and jammed with the band!

The only glitch, which is common to all large festivals at the fairgrounds was the traffic. Festival goers could expect several miles of back ups along Generals Highway during peak time.

The festival is the brainchild of local resident and businessman, Eddie McGowan. He saw a void of Irish Festivals in the region and did something about it 4 years ago. McGowan was committed to giving back to the community from the start and had a goal of giving $100,000 to local charities and non-profits by 2016. With this year’s contribution, that goal will have been met–two years early. The festival benefits the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Hospice of the Chesapeake, and Anne Arundel Medical Center.

“We are grateful to our generous sponsors,” said McGowan. “Many of them continue to support the festival year after year. This year, we were pleased to have Budweiser as our title sponsor and we thank the Katcef family (Budweiser’s local distributor) for their unending support of our event.”

The event is largely staffed by a small army of volunteers who sell tickets, run interference, become roadies, refill toilet paper, empty trash cans, and generally make the whole thing run smoothly. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our volunteers–they make this festival happen,” said McGowan.

Enjoy the snapshots we took!

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