Family-friendly festival focuses on music, dance, and cultural activities. Bring the kids! Bring the dog!
DALLAS – Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling everyone to Fair Park in Dallas for the 38th Annual North Texas Irish Festival to celebrate the rich tradition of Irish and Celtic culture March 6-8 with a three-day festival that is family-friendly and tons of fun.
Tens of thousands will come from across Texas and other parts of the country to visit one of the largest Irish festivals in the U.S., a signature cultural event that features live music, dancing, storytelling, chef demonstrations and more on 13 stages throughout Fair Park. Attendees will also enjoy horse shows, beer and whiskey tasting, genealogy research opportunities, shopping, animal rescue groups, child-friendly entertainment, and free arts and crafts for the kids.
Now in its 38th year, the North Texas Irish Festival is unique as the largest cultural celebration in DFW, and one of the largest Irish festivals in the U.S. It is produced annually by 600 volunteers, some of whom have volunteered for decades, often alongside generations of their families.
For a list of vendors (including arts & crafts) see https://ntif.org/index.php/vendors/vendor-list
“We are honored that people choose to bring their families to our festival year after year,” said Sheri Bush, president of the Southwest Celtic Music Association Inc., the organization that produces the North Texas Irish Festival and provides music and dance scholarships to local students. “Those of us who volunteer for the festival do this out of love for the culture, and because we want to share that with everyone. From our ‘festival family’ to yours, we hope you enjoy this labor of love.”
Music, dancing, whiskey tastings, horse displays, Celtic storytelling, animal rescue groups, Shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, dozens of activities for kids and child-friendly entertainment, and chef demonstrations are all found at this family-friendly festival that includes 13 stages of entertainment.
Back by popular demand after a successful inaugural race is the North Texas Irish Festival Fun Run, the perfect opportunity to kick up your heels. Perfect for runners or walkers of any age or ability (and dogs, of course!), this non-timed 5K fun run benefits the Southwest Celtic Music Association. All registered run participants will receive a T-shirt, a “bottle opener” medal, one ticket to the North Texas Irish Festival, and two beers after the run if you are of legal drinking age.
The heart and soul of the North Texas Irish Festival is the music, which goes on all weekend long and features musicians and bands from around the world. National headlining performers are: Altan, JigJam, Lunasa, The Logues, Ashley Davis, Calan, Ed Miller and Rich Brotherton, and Celtic Aire (the premier Celtic and folk ensemble of the United States Air Force). A host of regional performers will also perform throughout festival weekend.
Are you a fan of the hit show “Riverdance”? Then you are familiar with the rhythmic magic of Irish step dancing. Dancers of all ages – many of whom compete at the world championship level — will delight audiences with continuous performances on the dance stage in Fair Park’s historic Tower Building. In addition, there will be dance workshops throughout the weekend, and everyone is encouraged to get into the spirit of Ireland at Saturday night’s Dance “Céilí,” a traditional Irish party that is open for everyone to attend.
Pick up a few culinary tricks for modern Irish cuisine (and sample it!) at the Chef Stage. North Texas’s most exciting chefs will spill some of their best Celtic culinary secrets as they perform their own modern takes on traditional Celtic fare, and then pass out samples for attendees to enjoy. Also, don’t miss special mixology demonstrations from experts with Teeling Whiskey, Glendalough and others on Friday night.
Kids & Animals
There is so much for kids to do at the North Texas Irish Festival! Urchin Street is a special place inside the festival where kids can find entertainment, education, play and fun, including crafts, music, dance, storytelling, magic and mystery. Storytellers — or “Shanachie” – will perform traditional Irish stories in the way that the Irish learned of their history for hundreds of years.
Love animals? The North Texas Irish Festival hosts animal rescue groups where you can find your new best friend – or, if you already have one, bring your pet into the festival to enjoy it with you for a $1 donation. Equestrian shows, sheep herding and other demonstrations will be performed in various areas of Fair Park.
Hours, Admission and Location
Gates open on Friday evening, March 6, at 6 p.m. Hours are 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7; and 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 8.
North Texas Irish Festival Fun Run is Saturday, March 7, 8-11 a.m. Packet pick-up is at 7 a.m. at the
Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park. Fun run registration is available online.
Tickets for the North Texas Irish Festival are available online in February at http://www.ntif.org.
At the festival, admission is FREE on Friday from 6 to 7 p.m.; $10 after 7 p.m. A one-day ticket is $20 on Saturday and $20 on Sunday at the gate, while a two-day ticket is $30 and a weekend pass is $35. Discount tickets are available at area Tom Thumb and Albertsons stores starting in February. Children 11 and under are FREE when accompanied by adult family member. Seniors over 65 or current military members (with valid military ID) receive $5 off all gate prices. Dogs are allowed in on a short leash with a $1 requested donation to animal rescue groups supported by the festival. Leprechauns (in full ceremonial dress and carrying pot of gold) are FREE.
Parking is available in and around Fair Park, or attendees can take the DART (take the Green Line!) to the front entrance of Fair Park and the North Texas Irish Festival. Detailed directions and parking tips are available at www.ntif.org. The public can call (214) 821-4173, or visit www.ntif.org for more information or to volunteer to work at the festival.
Connect with the North Texas Irish Festival at:
· Facebook: @NTIFSCMA
· Twitter: @NTIF_scma
· Instagram: @NTIF_SCMA
In addition to the 600 volunteers who support the festival by volunteering their time, other local civic and corporate partners make this festival possible. The North Texas Irish Festival is presented by the Southwest Celtic Music Association. Additionally, the festival is sponsored by NBC 5, DART, Entercom, Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District, Tom Thumb, Albertsons, Scarborough Renaissance Festival, In-N-Out Burger, Bath Planet, Guinness and Teeling Whiskey.
About the Southwest Celtic Music Association Inc.
The Southwest Celtic Music Association Inc. (SCMA) is the producing organization for the North Texas Irish Festival. Almost 1,000 volunteers will help in organization, promotion and execution of this year’s festival. The first such festival was held on March 5, 1983, at the legendary Nick Farrelly’s Lounge on Oak Lawn and was billed as the First Texas Céilí. This event was so popular that it has continued every year since on the first weekend in March as the North Texas Irish Festival. Shortly after the first festival, the all-volunteer Southwest Celtic Music Association Inc. was formed to promote the study, performance and preservation of traditional Celtic music, dance and culture. In 1984, the event was moved to Fair Park and its name changed to the North Texas Irish Festival. The Southwest Celtic Music Association Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit cultural corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and serves a five-state regional area. The organization maintains a web site at www.scmatx.org.Submitted by Stephanie Patrick. Email: email@example.com