Fairfield, CT – Despite having changes in venue over recent years, the annual Fairfield County Irish Festival continues to attract visitors who enjoy all things Irish – and particularly of Irish descent – to this three-day outdoor event.
Now staged on the grounds of Fairfield University, the 2012 edition of this festival will entertain attendees with Irish music and dancing demonstrations, a Gaelic football tournament, food booths, a marketplace of Irish goods, and cultural and children’s tents. Coinciding with Father’s Day weekend, the Fairfield County Irish Festival will take place Friday night, June 15 through Sunday evening, June 17.
Festival hours are Friday, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday, from noon to 8 p.m.
Since its inception in 1988, the Fairfield County Irish Festival has had strong ties to Fairfield. According to the festival’s website, the inaugural Fairfield County Irish Festival opened at Roger Ludlowe Field–the grounds for the former Roger Ludlowe High School–and its stated goal was to raise funds to benefit the Gaelic-American Club Building Fund. A year later, FEILE Incorporated was formed, as a public charity, to continue the festival.
In late August of 1992, ground was broken on Fairfield’s Beach Road for construction of the Gaelic American Cultural Center. This facility would become the home to both FEILE and the Gaelic American Club, opening its doors in May of 1993.
With the Irish festival, Roger Ludlowe Field served as its venue for 13 years. When construction of a new school complex on the field began, the festival was moved to area venues over subsequent years. Temporary locations included Jennings Beach, also in Fairfield, Seaside Park in Bridgeport, and Indian Ledge Park in Trumbull.
Along with bringing the festival back to Fairfield, the university setting has been noted as helping to expand displays of Irish sports, as well as increased entertainment, cultural displays and vendor offerings. The festival’s sports highlight will be the Donnelly Cup Tournament. The tournament was established in the memories of Kim and Tim Donnelly, a couple who were active in the Irish festival since its start and owned a jewelry business known for their handcrafted and Irish jewelry.
Admission to the 2012 Fairfield County Irish Festival is $12 for adults, $10 for students with a valid ID, and free for children under the age 16 with their parents. A three-day pass is available for $20. For more information, visit http://www.irishfestival.org.