The Irish Fair will be held this weekend, Aug 13 - 15, at Harriet Island in St. Paul. And when St. Paul puts on its Irish - you want to come running. This event is considered one of the most authentic Irish fairs in the country, and nearly 100,000 people attended it last year.
This has been called one of the most family-friendly events in the Twin Cities. And oh, it's free. All free. You can bring the kids and everyone can enjoy themselves. No kids? Enjoy a pint. Or you can stop by the Jameson Irish Whiskey Experience tent and sample some of their finest.
There are events all weekend long, starting on Friday at 3pm. There are several stages, with dancing, music and singing. There are other areas, too, like the Ahern's Croagh Park - fancy some sheep herding? Watch Irish border collies at their best. Rugby, soccer and more. The Eoin McKiernan's Speakers Tent will feature Erin Hart reading from False Mermaid, Will Kenney on the Irish language, and Beth Mullinax on Irish Genealogy, and much more. There will be music workshops, storytelling, folk tales, and hurling. Hurling for kids, even.
The Centennial Showboat will be pressed into service with five different theater performances to choose from. There will also be a Marketplace with over 60 vendors, artisans, general retailers and more.
The Fair is the site of the US World Championship Tug of War. This takes place on Saturday starting at noon. The Fair holds an Irish photo contest and an Irish Soda Bread Contest. Saturday at 4:15 you can catch the Best Legs in a Kilt Contest. There's a Fitzgerald Cup Piping Contest, with the best highland pipe bands competing on Sunday at 11am.
The Children's Area includes singers, storytellers, puppeteers, and dancing on stage, with the kids getting a chance to take a step or two. Crafts and face painting are of course included. There's a mini golf course and races for kids held each day. They'll definitely be able to burn off some energy!
The Fair runs on Friday from 3pm to 11pm. Saturday things start with a Family Fun Run at 9am and the 5K Run with the Celts at 9:30am. The Fair runs from 10am to 11pm on Saturday. Sunday it's on from 10am to 8pm.
There will be three shuttles running to the Fair from downtown St. Paul locations. No parking on Harriet Island during the Fair. It is recommended to either take a shuttle from one of the downtown locations, or walk across the Wabasha St. Bridge, or park along Plato Blvd. See the website for shuttle stops and a map of the Irish Fair.