Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Can you believe it? The Connecticut Irish Festival is 50!

The Connecticut Irish Festival will celebrate its 50th Anniversary on June 23 and 24.
The event is held at the North Haven Fairgrounds on Washington Avenue, according to a release.
"This event, sponsored by the Irish American Community Center, is the longest running Irish Festival in New England and, according to organizers, the United States," the release said.

At the event, "Cultural offerings include language and instrumental competitions."
There also will be genealogy, traditional music presentations, and carving demonstrations. 
The cultural building will house area Irish organizations and an Irish bread-baking contest, the release said.  
Children younger than under 16 are admitted at no charge.

 "Many family-friendly activities will be featured both days," the release said. 
Some exhibits include: Irish magic shows, face painting, and Irish story time
There will be  rides, youth football scrimmage, sheep shearing, and pony rides. 
Also, Seven Nations will headline Saturday evening, the release said. 
Other acts at various times are the Screaming Orphans, McLean Avenue Band, and the Mickey Finns.
Also, Celtic Cross, Kitchen Party, Mean Carlene, and Tommy Goodwin and Sharon, the release said. 
For a schedule of activities and times, visit
Or visit the Festival Facebook page.

Also, from the release: Saturday morning will start with the 10th Annual 5K Road Race to benefit the Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis Association. 
A .7-mile kids’ fun run at 10:30 a.m. is followed by the road race and 2-mile fitness walk at 11 a.m. 
Sign- ups for all begin at 9 a.m. The Race Director is Joe Riccio (203) 481-7453; for more information e-mail or visit the festival website for online registration. 
Saturday evening will feature a Gaelic football exhibition game between two teams comprised of members of the New York Police Department and the Fire Department New York. 
Prior to the game, there will be a "Battle of the Bravest" Tug-o-War tournament
among area professional firefighters competing for the "Bill Miller Trophy" and benefiting the Leary
Firefighter Foundation, started by television personality Denis Leary.

Sunday's highlight is the 48th annual New Haven Feis, an Irish dance competition, featuring hundreds
of competitors in colorful traditional costumes in a marvelous spectacle of grace and skill.  The day will
start at 8:15 a.m. with a Catholic Mass on the Fairgrounds.  An Irish Tea Cottage will offer various delicacies
and an assortment of food vendors and merchandise vendors will be available throughout the Festival. 
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and ends on Sunday at 7 p.m.  Admission price
is $12 per day per adult.  Active military personnel with ID card are free.  Advance 2-day passes are
available for $18; or $10 one day.  Please contact Madge Mulhall at
(or 203- 268-2037) for advance tickets; for general information, contact Jim Martens at 203-467-3638;
or email  

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. In the photo are Colm Ryan (front center) and his brother and sister, Declan and Mairead Ryan - ages 5, 11, and 9 respectively.

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