Volunteers work year-round to create a Cultural Area that showcases both Irish heritage and current cultural developments and provides interesting ways for you to learn a little more about all things IRISH.
Throughout the festival grounds, workshops and seminars abound! Check the schedules in the Eoin McKiernan Seminar Tent and the IMDA Music Workshop Tent for opportunities to learn more about musical instruments, history, legends, movies, literature and more.
Inside the Cultural Area Tent (in a new location near the flag pole) you'll find crafters, the Irish Fair Photo Contest entries, presented by Celtic Journey's, a replica poitín still and Trisceil Tea Room. You can trace your genealogy, enter the Baking Contest, learn a word or two in Irish or get information on many of the active Irish nonprofits in Minnesota.
The Irish love their Gaelic games. At the Irish Fair you have the opportunity to watch and participate in several festival competitions. Hurling, the Irish variation of field hockey, and Gaelic football, a rugby style game played with a ball similar to a soccer ball, will be demonstrated throughout the festival. After the games, you can give the football a kick or knock the sloither (the ball used in hurling) with the hurley (the field hockey-like stick) during our clinics for kids and adults.
Although we don’t replicate the famous holes at Lahinch, you or children can have a crack at our hand-built mini-golf course.
Since the introduction of Riverdance about a decade ago, interest in Irish dance has exploded. At least 10 Irish dance schools now teach nearly 1000 kids and adults jigs, reels, hornpipes and much more. At least five adults groups are regularly performing throughout the state.
At the Irish Fair, we like to showcase all these schools, groups and dancers. From wee ones learning their first steps to accomplished dancers who compete internationally to intricate set dances, you can see performances throughout the festival on the Dance stage. Kick up your own heels a little later in the evening when, reminiscent of Irish crossroad dances, a ceili or set dance begins.
Irish Social Dancing – Dances that YOU do!
The Crossroads Tent will once again be the hopping and swinging hot spot for Irish social dancing at the Irish Fair. Irish social dancing is based on the traditional folk dances of Ireland.
All weekend long we'll be hosting céilí and set dancing, with lessons in the basic steps and movements of each dance. We'll run two hour sessions, alternating between set and céilí (kay-lee) dancing all three days. There will be big dances at the end of each day accompanied by the Twin Cities' finest traditional Irish muscians, plus an extra period of set dancing Sunday afternoon inside the new Jameson Pavilion for Friends of the Irish Fair.
This year the Crossroads Dance Hall will share a tent with the Children's Area, which will host storytelling, music and dancing! During the adult social dancing, little spinners and hoppers can dance and enjoy the fabulous music on their own "wee ones' floor.
Come and dance like nobody's watching. Nobody will, we promise, because they'll be out there on the floor with you, dancing to the terrific traditional music of our excellent local Irish bands.
Information about Irish social dancing year-round can be found on the Loma mor Irish Dance Club website.