Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dublin Irish Fest 2009

The Dublin Irish Festival is the last BIG party of the summer in Central Ohio, and is one of our favorite events of the year. For me, this years party started with a mission as I was determined to get my kilt. So soon after the gates opened on Friday, my first stop was the Utilikilt booth where I was fitted for the kilt called the Survivor. As fortune would have it, they had my size, so one kilt one belt and one tee shirt later and I was ready to party!

Each year before we head to the Irish Fest, we alway begin with a pre-party at our house. Here my buddy Bil and I show off our kilts as we sip a Guiness or two.
New to our party this year were Christy and Eric (left) and Lysandra and Bill (right). Of course there were plenty of regulars like Myron, Mark, Judy, Dave, Lynn and Evonne.

Missing this year from the party was Wendy and Chris who recently moved to Phoenix. The pre-party was certainly more tame with out Chris, the life of any party, around, but we still had a great time and even toasted Wendy and Chris with a"car bomb" in their honor. Cheers!

It was another year of record attendance at the Irish Fest although early morning rains on Friday made the grounds a bit soggy, however, as always, Dublin did a great job maintaining the festival area so although soggy, the paths were never muddy.

As with most ethnic festivals, the Irish Fest has pleanty of fun things to do and great food to eat. First up we stopped by the Green Field Sports Area where we saw some strength competitions. Men hurling stones like an old time shotputs; pitching hay bales high into the air and many more impressive displays of strength.

Next it was off to the Celtic Dance stage where we watch the Dancers step to the Irish vibe. If the dance wasn't interesting enough, the costumes really caught our eye with bright colors and perfectly made-up hairdoos. I found it facinating to see so many people of all ages totally committed to such a wonderful folk art form. Of course, being the father of multiple sons who have played travel sports and feeling the sting of the costs of their equipment, I couldn't help but feel for the parents of the young girls who where these elaborate costumes. I can only imagine the sacrifice that these parents make to keep their daughters "in style".
While enjoying the dance I noticed this young aspiring dancer intently watching the colorful display. Her piercing eyes focused on every move the dancers made. I wonder how long before she ready to hit the floor? Only time will tell.

We watched the dancers for quite a while, until it was time to move on. Just ahead I was mesmerized by the maticulous craftsmanship of the stone carver. Of course other crafts were well representented too, including woodworking, leathercrafting (I think their's a better name for that), instrument making and glasswork just to name a few.
Sifting through the rows of crafts and food vendors our next destination was clear. It was time to hit one of our favorite venues; not because of the music and certainly not because of any cultural or artistic significance. No the reason we love this venue really has nothing to do with Irish tradition, for us, but more because The Dogs Are So Darn Cute!!! Yes, these dogs are of Irish heritage but to my wife and I that doesn't matter because we are just dog lovers no matter what their heritage. This year there was a nice assortment of dogs. There were the Kerri Blue, Irish Terrier, Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier and Irish Setter. However, the two dogs that we really come here to see are the Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier and the Irish Wolfhound.
Our family is partial to the Soft Coated Wheaton as we are also Wheaton owners. For those of you who are not familiar with Wheatons, they are an extremely smart, yet stubborn dog with a strong natural herding instinct. They are known for their excited circles around the living room, up and down off the furniture, when someone comes to visit. Our Wheaton, Teagan (means beautiful in Irish) will sit nicely to greet our guests, stub a wagging faster and faster; then as if she can no longer hold her pent-up energy she leaps at our guests to give a firm push with her front paws. Then its off to the races around the house. I always describer her as the most well trained dog, when she wants to be.
The Irish Wolfhound we love because of its sheer size. A massive yet elegant animal that is as gentile as can be.
As we leave the dog venue, it's time to listen to some music. Of course the big bands were there like The Produgals, Synthian, Gaelic Storm and more; but over the years we have become unofficial groupies of Ric Smith, formerly with Heartland. This year he has changed bands and now performs with Roger Drawdry and the Firestarters and excellent local band. Ric plays the fiddle, which is the glue to any good Irish folk band. They are currently performing at Byrne's Pub in Grandview. We plan on making an upcoming show soon.
Another must-see group that we added to our list this year is Ladies of Longford. We really enjoyed there energetic style and mix of contemporary american music with an Irish flare. Of particular note, the fiddler can fiddle with the best of them, while mom, on lead guitar can strum a powerful melody. Perhaps my favorite musician was the drummer who has a voice similar to Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks. This is another group local to Central Ohio and definitely a must see.
The Dublin Irish Festival is a three day event that, for me, is just a nice place to hang out. But by the end of three days of food, music, crafts, fun and of course beer, it was time to close the fest for another year. Although there was no beer involved for this little one, it looks like he partied hard and is now dreaming of next year Fest...

Did you go to the Dublin Irish Festival this year? Got Wheaton? Perhaps you just like Irish music. Tell me your favorite party stories.

See you next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment