From a parade of Wellington rain boots, to a comedic play about the IRA, Irish culture will be on display this weekend in Frontier Park.
This marks the second year that the Missouri River Irish Festival has been held over Memorial Day weekend in St. Charles. It will run from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The event is sponsored by the St. Charles Irish Sister Cities Program, which last April finalized an agreement with Carndonagh, Ireland as St. Charles' third sister city.
The 8th Annual Missouri River Irish Festival this year will feature opportunities for people to learn more about the history of Ireland through various speakers and plays.
"One of the things the Irish festival tries to do is to stay true to the our cultural mission," Cultural Chair Sandi Swift Reilly said. "We don't have blues bands, we don't have rock bands unless they are Celtic rock bands. We have Irish music—that's all you're going to hear all weekend."
The Black Mirror Theatre Company will perform a comedy called "The Predicament" at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the Cottage Stage which is near the Katy Trail Depot in Frontier Park.
The play tells the story of six IRA men who live in a small town in Ireland that's occupied by the English soldiers in 1921. The men come up with different ways of getting rid of the "black and tans" without harming the church or the local pub, Reilly said.
"It's just a very funny play," she said. "They're all local actors from St. Louis. Here you get to see a free play and a little bit of comedy on Irish history."
The Sister Cities organization will also speak about Carndonagh and offer people information about the both the student and adult exchange opportunities at noon on Saturday and Sunday at the Cottage Stage.
The first exchange was a success, Reilly said. Six students from St. Charles went to Carndonagh in March for several days. Next October, about 22 Irish students are expected to come to St. Charles.
In addition to history, the festival will offer opportunities to hear Irish music and a chance for kids to make Irish crafts in the children's area. The Clarkson School of Irish Dance is sponsoring the area which will feature a "fairy tea party," Irish crafts and a visit from the Irish dancers. The children's area will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
"We have a lot of activities in there and a lot of Irish crafts, things to to keep the kids entertained," she said. "We do have bungee jumping this year."
Schedule of Entertainment Events
Sun Drop Stage (Jaycee Stage) Friday
6:30 p.m. The Irish Xiles
8:30 p.m. Chicago Reel
Guinness Stage (in big tent in Frontier Park) Friday
6 p.m. Irish Set Dance Lessons by Erin Scherer and Ed Yother
7:30 p.m. Ceili (open dancing)
Sun Drop Stage Saturday
8:45 a.m. Parade of Wellies
10 a.m. Opening Ceremony
10:30 a.m. St. Louis Irish Session Players
12:30 p.m. Ashley Davis
2 p.m. Chicago Reel
4 p.m. Clark Academy of Irish Dance
6 p.m. Rusty Nail
9 p.m. The Elders
10:30 p.m. Last call at beer booth
Guinness Stage Saturday
11:30 a.m. Red Headed Strangers
1 p.m. Duddy Breeks
4:30 p.m. Keltic Reign
7:30 p.m. Kelly Band
Sun Drop Stage-Sunday
8:30 a.m. Mass
10 a.m. Haines and Kaiser
11:30 a.m. The Elders
2 p.m. Chicago Reel
4 p.m. Clarkson School of Irish Dance
10 a.m. Ashley Davis
1:30 p.m. Keltic Reign
3 p.m. Rusty Nail
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