PICK: The Irish Festival in Church Hill

Feeling lucky? If you’re still this side of the sod, who cares?

It’s been 35 years since the glorious Irish Festival in our historic Church Hill neighborhood started. So break out your green and head down to 25th and East Broad Street this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s only a $5 donation at the gate and for that you get 50 bands and 50 vendors, for a neat 100 things to do, lads and lasses (if you go each day). Sláinte!

Ah, just let us hear those bagpipes play: The opening parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the Hill Topper 5k starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Organizers kindly ask that you leave your pets at home; also, a children’s play area will be provided.

click to enlarge

  • Local bagpipe player Steve McNeer shown at an Irish Fest from 2017.

According to the site, donation “proceeds benefit the St. Baldrick’s Society and [it’s] fight against childhood cancer, the Church Hill Association, the Church Hill Crime Watch, Richmond Hill, Child Saver’s Clinic of Richmond, St. John’s Church, the St. Peter’s Meals Program, St. Francis Home, the Greater Fulton Neighborhood Resource Center and many other neighborhood causes. Proceeds also benefit the historic preservation of St. Patrick’s Church, a ‘little church with a big heart’ built in the 1850s by Irish Immigrants to Richmond, and its outreach programs.”

Among the delicious food available: “Irish Surprise” (corned beef, cabbage & mashed potatoes) prepared by the Ladies of St. Patrick’s, “Fish and Chips” and other favorites provided by Rare Olde Times Irish Pub, the St. Patrick’s Grill, Curbside Creations and more. “This year we will feature Guinness tastings with the Guinness Ambassador,” according to the site. Now that’s the kind of prestigious post needed during garbage fire times, aye?

Remember, the Irish Fest is likely to be a wee crowded, especially because of so many people being glad to be alive and winter nearly over: There is free parking with a shuttle at 16th & E. Broad Street, as well as free parking and shuttle at Stone Brewery in Fulton with drop-off at 24th & E. Broad St. and 26th & E. Broad St. The shuttle runs all day both Saturday and Sunday.

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