Annapolis Irish Festival
Whether you count yourself among the 32 million Americans who claim Irish roots or the 300 million others who wish they could, you’ll find a comfortable connection with the Emerald Isle at Annapolis Irish Festival this weekend. But you’ll have to stretch your idea of the Ould Sod to keep up with a culture redefining tradition for modern times.
The journey begins Friday evening at Annapolis Irish Festival Twilight Concert, co-sponsored by Maryland Renaissance Festival, when The Rogues, Albannach and Screaming Orphans play preview concerts.
Come Saturday, 13 bands and balladeers play on three stages — Shamrock, Fado and Galway Bay Pavilion. You’ll hear Irish blended with punk rock, Gypsy and Klezmer by Scythian … ballads by Brendan’s Voyage and Danny Burns … variations on rock and roots by Crossing Celtic, Dublin 5 (formerly the Rovers), Gaelic Storm, The Screaming Orphans … traditional Celtic song and dance redefined by Gothard and The ShamRogues … and pipe and drums by Albannach, the Chesapeake Caledonian Pipes and Drums, Kilmaine Saints and The Rogues.
You’ll also see Celtic dance as four schools take to the stage; enjoy cultural exhibits and workshops; indulge in Irish food and drink; and shop Celtic crafts as 90 merchants give you the best taste of Ireland this side of the Atlantic. Kids (under 12 free) visit Little Leprechaun Land, where they’ll ride ponies, learn to jig, meet Busch Gardens Animal Ambassadors, get musical with Seamus Kennedy, play games, make magic and enter the Bouncy Castle.
Last year, 22,000+ people visited Ireland in Annapolis, helping raise $30,000 for local non-profits. This year’s festival benefits Hospice of the Chesapeake, Wellness House of Annapolis, St. Jude Hospital for Children and Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Fri 4-10pm w/free admission 4-5pm; $10 later and 11am-10pm Sa; $20 w/discounts. At Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville: 410-980-7971; www.annapolisirishfestival.com.