Cape Coral Irish Festival 2013 this weekend
Cape Coral's Irish Festival attracts over 10,000 per year to the event.
Cape Coral will be green with celebration this weekend.
If you cannot wait for St. Patricks Day to “get your Irish on”, the ninth annual Cape Coral Irish Festival will take place this Saturday and Sunday at the German American Club.
What started as a small “get together” in an empty field on Cultural Parkway less than 10 years ago has grown into a full-fledged festival, attracting over 10,000 people annually, “A few years back we invested more in the entertainment and location. Since then the popularity of the festival has gone through the roof,” says Irish American Club’s Anne Carney.
Carney says that this year’s festival promises plenty of entertainment, vendors, food, and drink, all with a flair for Irish tradition, “We will have all of the things that people come out each year to enjoy, and plenty of it.”
Headlining the entertainment this year will be Irish rock band, The Screaming Orphans.
The band is made up of four sisters from Ireland. They have traveled around the world and seemed to have found a home at the Cape Coral Irish Festival. This will be the third consecutive year the band has played the festival,
While the Screaming Orphans will perform traditional Irish music and add a modern rock twist to it, there will also be a wide range of Irish music performed throughout the festival. Artists Kathy & Andreas Durkin will perform traditional Irish music, Andy Cooney, who is new to the festival this year will be performing traditional Irish music with a Broadway performance twist, “Mr. Cooney has a large following in the northeast part of the United States. He not only sings, but also puts on a show for the crowd,” says Carney.
There will also be performances of Irish dancing from such dance schools as Kellyn Celtic Arts Dance Academy and the Tir Na Nog Dancers.
In an effort to make the festival a full family affair, this year, the club has expanded its popular “Leprechaun Lane” children’s activity area to include; face painting, clowns making balloon animals, crafts and more. The area is sure to keep children between the ages of three to thirteen entertained.
Of course, what would an Irish Festival be without traditional Irish food and drink? Back this year is plenty of Corned Beef and Cabbage from Chef Guido. There will also be plenty of “a drop of the creature”, better known as, beer, “All of the food is freshly made. Chef Guido spends all night cooking for the next day. People line up for it every year,” explains Carney.
Carney also says for those who come to the festival to enjoy the variety of beers, organizers have also set up a program where designated drivers can drink O’ Douls for free during the event, “We want people to have fun, but we also want to ensure they do it responsibly.”
There will also be an opportunity for one lucky winner to win a trip to Ireland for two. The trip will be raffled off at the end of the festival and include two round trip airfare tickets to Ireland, lodging at a bed & breakfast for a week, and a rental car.
While the club holds the event to bring Irish culture to Cape Coral and host a good time had by all, it is also the organization’s principal fundraiser for the year.
Money raised from the event go to helping the club support such causes as; Organ Transplant Recipients of Southwest Florida, Inc., The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks of the USA Fund for US Soldiers Overseas, Hope Hospice, the Knights of Columbus Councils at St. Andrew and St. Katharine Drexel Churches. The club also donates a number of scholarships to students who perform in the Irish arts, “That helps our mission of educating people about Irish culture and spreading it to younger generations,” says Carney.
The festivities kick off Saturday afternoon at 11:00am and go to 10:00pm and also on Sunday from 11:00am to 8:00pm. The festival will take place at Cape Coral’s German American Club, located at 2101 SW Pine Island Road.