Throughout the area, the Irish community is going strong. Anyone looking for a little craic (the Gaelic word meaning a good time) can get their fill on Saturday. The Irish American Society of County Will is hosting its Second Annual Will County Celtic Fest at St. Joe's Park, Joliet.
Activities will include a full day of top Irish entertainment, children’s activities, great food and vendors.
The musical lineup begins at 12:15 p.m. with Will County’s own John Condron. At 1:15 p.m., it’s time to get loud with the Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums. This group of bagpipers is made up exclusively of active and retired firefighters from Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. They perform a second time at 4:30 p.m.
Not to let the music outdo the performances, next up will be another local giant, the Keigher Academy of Irish Dance at 2 p.m.
Also, there will be the Will County Open Feis, an Irish step dance competition starting at 9 a.m. It is sponsored by Triallta Irish Dance Company of Joliet.
For the first time, Irish race car driver Peter Dempsey will be available at the fest to meet people and sign autographs. Born in Dublin, raised in Meath, Dempsey is the only Irish Indy Lights driver competing in North America. Indy Lights is the feeder system for Indy Car.
Kids of all ages will find something to do! For the little ones, there will be face painting and a bounce house throughout the day. Starting at 1 p.m. will be a magician. Then from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. there will be a petting zoo. The 3 p.m. dog show will feature a border collie, blue Kerry terrier, Irish terrier, Wheaton terrier, Wheaton wolfie, Irish red and white setters and an Irish wolfhound.
Vendors include Trinity Knot, of Wilmington, Celtic Cottage of Palos Heights, Flipside (Scottish and Celtic items) of Rhode Island, and Beth Clark of Celtic Themed artwork.
Food vendors include Sweets n’ Treats, gourmet popcorn, cotton candy, puppy chow, and prepackaged treats. Aurelio’s will serve up its famous pizza. Kirby’s Catering and Bakery will feature corned beef sandwiches, shamrock cookies and scones. Ranch Frosty’s will serve hot dogs, polish sausages and other items.
Admission is $5 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free.
The Irish American Society of County Will originated in 1981. It has been responsible for Manhattan Irish Fest, the Irish Heritage Days in downtown Joliet in the 1980s, and countless other Irish events. In honor of its 30th anniversary, the society donated $30,000 last year to local reputable charities.
St. Joseph Park is located on Theodore Street, east of Raynor Avenue. For more information, click to www.willcountycelticfest.com.