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Unique exhibits at Irish Fest Camden

Posted: January 29, 2018 3:20 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Irish Wolfhounds and birds of prey will put in appearances at the Irish Festival. The loveable, furry gentle giants and the trained raptors are popular everywhere they go.

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Little leprechauns, Irish wolfhounds, Gypsy Vanner horses, hawks, and knights in armored combat will be among the unique exhibits at Irish Fest Camden (IFC) on Saturday, March 3. The festival, in its second year, is expected to grow tremendously and has added several new and unique attractions.

Festival activities will kick off with the children’s Leprechaun walking parade at 10:45 am. The parade will begin inside the festival gates at Broad and Rutledge Streets, making its way down Rutledge to the old farmer’s market field where the Opening Ceremony of the Highland Games will be held at 11 a.m.

The Irish Wolfhound Association of the Mid South (IWAMS) will return this year. The hounds were a crowd favorite, meeting, greeting and ‘kissing’ attendees. IWAMS, organized in 1992 as a not-for- profit organization that encourages and sponsors education in the health and welfare of the Irish Wolfhound, promotes responsible quality breeding, and provides rescue and placement for wolfhounds in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Karen Levan with IWAMS commented, “Being the largest breed of dog, their size can be intimidating, but they have rightfully earned the name ‘gentle giants’. They love people, especially children.” As a sighthound, a relative of the greyhound, Irish Wolfhounds are amazing athletes with a double suspension gallop that can top 30 mph. But they are happiest when being a couch potato and soaking up love and attention. Don’t miss the Irish Wolfhound “Kiss Me I’m Irish” booth.

Coloured Cob, Gypsy Cob, Tinker, Irish Cob, and various other names are used to describe the Gypsy horse breed. However, the American term used is “Gypsy Vanners”. The Gypsy Vanner is a strong draft breed. They are not known merely for their beauty, but also their bronze. Footloose Farm, a breeding facility located in Darlington, will showcase their horses at the festival again this year. The farm is a family-owned facility made up of 150 acres. One of the owners, Nikki Milligan, who will be graduating UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in May remarked, “Our facility is expanding to include a reproductive laboratory and breeding shed. We strive to further educate people about this amazing breed and offer quality foals that can be used in every discipline within the equestrian world.”

A new exhibit to the festival will be presented by Tyler Wright, a licensed falconer who trains raptors to catch game in their natural habitat. Falconry is a sport that has been around for 4,000 years and was one of the original ways to put food on the table. Today, falconry has become much more than that. In addition to being a falconer, Wright is also an avid conservationist which goes hand in hand with falconry. Under a federal falconry permit, falconers trap birds as juveniles. Walker says, “This is extremely important, since in the wild 70 percent of red tailed hawks die before one year of age and 90 percent die before reaching two years.” Licensed falconers trap, train, provide veterinary care and help these juveniles hone their hunting skills, thereby greatly increasing the birds’ chances of survival after release. Festival-goers can expect to see Tyler, his red-tailed hawk Tallon and other exotic birds at the festival.

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) will join IFC this year. SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. They have more than 30,000 members living in 20 geographic regions, called kingdoms, throughout countries around the world. Each kingdom has royalty who preside over royal courts at which they reward and honor members for their contributions to the group. You can expect to see members dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance as they demonstrate skills, arts, crafts and combat of the period.

Proceeds from Irish Fest Camden benefit the scholarship program at The Montessori School of Camden. The festival will be held at Broad and Rutledge Streets on Saturday March 3 from 11 am to 5 pm. Gates open at 10:30 am. Tickets $10; ages 2-12 - $5; and age 1 and under is free. For more information email


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