In May, we listed the many cultural and ethnic festivals that are held in the Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia areas throughout the spring, summer and fall. It's November and so now it's time for the Maryland Irish Festival at the Maryland State Timonium Fairgrounds! The festival is a celebration of Irish culture with local, regional and international Irish music performers from traditional to Celtic Rock, Irish Dancers, Irish food, cultural and informational exhibits and workshops and a wide variety of vendors selling all types of Irish goods. There is also a children’s play area with bouncy castles, activities and games for the entire family.
The Irish were one of the first settlers in Maryland when the colony was founded in 1634. Most Irish immigrants came to Maryland and specifically the Baltimore area as refugees from the potato famine that devastated Ireland starting in the 1840’s. Irish immigrants became fireman, policemen, railroad workers and domestic workers and became an integral part of the building blocks of the United States. The Maryland Irish Festival has been paying tribute to these (and our) Irish ancestors for over 30 years. The proceeds of the festival are donated to the Irish Charities of Maryland and all of the members and workers of the festival are volunteers.
There are 3 stages for music, dance and entertainment at the Festival: Harp Stage, Guinness Stage and Tullamore Dew Stage. There will be Irish dance performances, pipe & drum corps, special educational seminars on Irish genealogy, instruments and even Irish rebel songs! There will be performances by Barley Juice, Kilmaine Saints, Shamrogues, Scythian, Moxie Strings and Bogside Rogues throughout the weekend. Check out the schedule for specific times and stages on the website.
This year is the inaugural year for the Kilts and Craic 5K Run, which is being held at 8am on Sunday, November 10th. There is also an Irish Baking Contest for traditional soda bread, scones and cakes that go with the Irish theme. There is a music competition for multiple age groups, who have to perform 2 contrasting types of music including jigs, reels, marches, polkas, and slides to just name a few. Another first this year is the whiskey tasting provided by Irish whisky maker, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey. There will be over 100 vendors featuring Irish foods, gifts, traditional art, jewelry and much more! The vendors will be in the North and South Halls.