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Sunday, August 18, 2013


One of my favorite late summer events is the Irish Fair of Minnesota, held each year on Harriet Island in St. Paul.  The three-day fair is held on the second weekend of August each year and is the nation’s largest free celebration of Irish Culture, playing host to 100,000 attendees annually.

My friend Steve in full kilt!

From Friday afternoon on through Sunday evening, there are dozens of cultural events for people to experience.  Headlining bands play on the main stage all weekend long while smaller music ensembles perform on other stages around the grounds.  A beer garden is located on the grounds and several food vendors line the walkway to the main stage.  Along with this, vendors sell their wares – some more authentic than others – in two different shopping tents.   All these are great by themselves, but what I think I enjoy the most are the information and demonstration tents.

Headlining bands performed on the main stage . . .

. . . While smaller ensembles performed on stages throughout the grounds.

Musicians entertained in the "Rose Garden" while customers 
enjoyed sumptuous pastries!

Vendors sold their wares in two shopping Tents.

Throughout the weekend, there are numerous education opportunities, on Irish Story telling, folklore, and history, in addition to demonstrations of Irish dancing, and various Irish musical instruments.  There are soccer and hurling demonstrations for the more sports minded, and my favorite, a sheep herding demonstration. 

Demonstrations included Soccer . . . 

. . . Irish dancing . . .

. . . And Irish instruments like these pipes.

The Cathedral of St. Paul stood watch over the weekend's festivities.

In addition to herding dogs, there are several breeds of Irish dogs on hand whose owners are happy to tell you about the history of each breed and how and why it was developed.  I’ve always been very fascinated by the breeds and learning their history just adds to their appeal

The sheep herding demonstration is my favorite thing to watch each year.

Irish Wolfhounds were just one of the many breeds of Irish dogs on display.

Bagpipe, drum and fife corps entertain us several times during the weekend, and also lead the various teams to the sports field.  Not being much of a sports fan, this gives the competitions a more authentic feel for me.

Bagpipes wait to lead the hurling teams on to the field.

My friend Todd bought a new hat.

The Irish Fair of Minnesota is one of my favorite summer events, and I always reserve the second weekend in August so I can attend.

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