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Irish Fest is March 3

Posted: January 23, 2018 12:03 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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The second annual Irish Fest Camden (IFC) will be held on Saturday, March 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Rutledge Street between Broad and Church Streets in downtown Camden.  Gates open at 10:30 a.m.  

 “The city welcomes the return of Irish Fest Camden to our downtown area,” Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford said. “Last year’s event was so much fun for our local residents -- and more than a thousand visitors took part in the festivities throughout the day. The Irish Fest Camden team has been hard at work preparing for the 2018 event and we appreciate everything they are doing. I won’t be surprised if attendance doubles at this year’s event.”

The Lucky Leprechaun 5K race will start the day at 9 a.m. at the Town Green. 

“This new USATF certified course through downtown Camden is great for runners and walkers alike.  This course is excellent for personal records -- flat and fast!” Race manager Erin Roof said. 

Awards will be given for top finishers and male/female age categories, plus prizes for the top three best dressed leprechauns.  

The Children’s Leprechaun Parade, led by Grand Marshall Mayor Drakeford, will kick-off festival activities.  Children of the community are invited to dress in their finest leprechaun attire and join the walking parade beginning inside the festival gates at Rutledge and Broad streets. The parade will end in the old farmer’s market field which will feature the Irish Fest Camden Highland Games Invitational, certified by the North American Scottish Games Athletics (NASGA). The opening ceremony will introduce the heavy event athletes from the southeast region who will be competing in the Men’s, Women’s, and Under 18 Youth divisions.  

“We’ve stepped it up a notch this year,” festival director Becki O’Hara said. “Last year, the games were a demonstration of the most popular heavy events, with some crowd participation. This year, we’ve registered the games with NASGA, appointed former heavy event athlete, Mr. Rick Norred as athletic director and are bringing in seasoned athletes from Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky, to name just a few.”  

Columbia Celtic folk-rock band, SYR, was a hit in 2017 and will return to IFC again in 2018.  SYR blends their own rock background to create powerful songs with themes of battle, love, heritage and victory. Front man and founder Kyle MacCallum also honors the language of the ancient Celts by including lyrics in Gaelic. This year’s performance schedule is also adding Charlotte-based Thistledown Tinkers on the main stage. These musicians weave traditional Irish and Scottish music with original creations while adding a Southern swagger that sets the stage on fire. 

The festival will have a second stage this year highlighting local community performers and featuring local Camden band Bothair Tombfield, which will mix more popular Americana music with Irish pub songs. This stage will also showcase Casey O’Reilly of Belfast, Ireland.  Casey will entertain the audience with his acoustic Irish pub music.

The family-friendly street festival will showcase Irish dancing, food trucks, inflatables, animals, face painting, a variety of vendors, and both Irish and domestic beer. A new exhibit will be presented by the Society for Creative Anachronism, whose members dress in Renaissance period clothing. The organization will demonstrate skills, arts, crafts and combat from the Middle Ages. Also new in 2018 will be an exotic bird exhibit by licensed falconer Tyler Wright.

IFC is sponsored by The Montessori School of Camden. 

 “The Montessori community is excited about Irish Fest Camden,” Montessori School of Camden Director Dr. John Moncure said. “We had a great time last year and have planned more activities this year. This event is important for our community since the funds raised allows a number of children to attend the school who could not otherwise have done so. We are thrilled to sponsor a family-friendly option to Irish and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.”  

Tickets are $10; children ages 2 to 12, $5; children age 1 and under are free. For more information, Like the Irish Fest Camden Facebook page or visit www.montessori-camden.com/irishfestcamden or email IrishFestCamden@gmail.com.

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