The best in Irish music, song, dance and pageantry highlights the 4th Annual Los Angeles County Irish Fair and Music Festival’s giant pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration, March 11-12, at Fairplex in Pomona.
More than 2,000 performers will be featured on 10 entertainment stages including Irish band favorites The Mulligans, Wrath of McGrath, Maria Butterly, Des Regan, Dublin 4, Banshee in the Kitchen, Celtic Spring, The Wake, and Irish Zydeco recording star Lisa Haley. The colorful 42nd Piper’s Brigade will parade the festival grounds each hour performing favorite Irish marching tunes.
Traditional and contemporary Irish dance groups performing on stage include the famed Cripple Creek Cloggers, featured at the outdoor stage near the festival entrance. Other dance groups performing are the Los Angeles Set Dancers with Michael Patrick Breen, Royal Scottish Dancers and the McCartan Irish School Dancers.
More than a dozen family attractions include Ancient Irish Village, a depiction of a working Irish village of yesterday complete with blacksmiths, weavers, bakers, arts and craftsmen at work, along with street mimes, jugglers, actors and musicians. Other attractions include sheep herding, Connemara pony and Irish-bred dog shows, and Leprechaun Kingdom, where children can meet Merlin the Magician.
A caber toss competition highlights the SAAA Sports Challenge, featuring Southern California’s strongest Celtic athletes in action. This year’s Irish Marketplace and Import Street expands to nearly 200 booths. Visitors can shop for imported sweaters, cheeses and baked goods and Irish arts and crafts. The Celtic Cultural Center staff members will be on hand to help people trace their Irish heritage and plan their next Irish vacations.
New this year is a special Irish Parade, each day at noon featuring grand marshal, The O’Brien, Prince of Thomond. The honored guest from Ireland is the featured speaker at the largest gathering of Irish and Scottish clans in the U.S., taking place on the grounds of the fair.
After a full day of activities, guests can refresh and relax at several colorful Irish pubs and enjoy food fare from bangers and Irish stew to bread to fish and chips and hot dogs at more than 30 food stations. In addition, traditional corn beef and cabbage is served at the Irish Fine Dining Pavilion.
Gates are open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Free shuttle service is available from the parking lot. Admission is $16 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, ages 11 and younger free. Fairplex is located at 1101 W. McKinley Avenue, Pomona, (909) 623-3111 and www.fairplex.com. /b.js>