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8th Annual Missouri River Irish Festival Kicks Off Friday in St. Charles

Weekend of activities will include Irish music, a play, Irish food and children's area.

From a parade of Wellington rain boots, to a comedic play about the IRA, Irish culture will be on display this weekend in .

This marks the second year that the 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 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 () 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

6 p.m. O'Faolain School of Irish Dance

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

Guinness Stage-Sunday 

10 a.m. Ashley Davis

1:30 p.m. Keltic Reign

3 p.m. Rusty Nail

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