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The Greening of O’nnapolis

How Eddie McGowan made a local stop on the Celtic circuit

There may be nothing quite as rousing as men in kilts wailing away on bagpipes — at least to Eddie McGowan.
    A group of bagpipers walked into a bar, and he was smitten. “I knew I had to learn how to play,” says McGowan, whose appreciation of all things Celtic has grown into the Annapolis Irish Festival.
    Back in 2010, McGowan talked a few bands into coming to Annapolis for a weekend of music.
    “That first year was tough,” says McGowan, whose fulltime gig is running a construction company. “We were just happy to not lose any money.”
    Many of the bands brought their own fan base to Annapolis for the inaugural festival. Bands returned year after year. So did fans.
    “I estimate we had maybe 4,000 people the first year, McGowan says. “Now we are looking at around 15,000.”
    O’nnapolis is their key to success, says wife Tracy McGowan.