I didn’t realize Appleton had its very own leprechaun until I treated myself to a whole Saturday (and most of a Friday) at its second annual Irish Fest.
What but Irish magic (and a slew of volunteers’ incredibly hard work) could account for to toe-tapping, tummy-patting, pint-tipping, arm-waving, hand-clapping explosion of joy that happened all weekend at Jones Park.
McGuinness Irish Pub owner Matt Miller himself summoned some of the best pipers and fiddlers in all the land for a community festival and, by land and sea, they came with a contagious spirit of celebration that culminated in an all-out party Saturday night.
At one point, the eight members of Scottish-based Skerryvore joined the five members of Gaelic Storm on stage for a ceilidh featuring three bag pipes and some of the best fiddling we’ve ever heard.
My jigging muscles are sore just from stomping along.
And the food, well it was positively grand (and extremely filling). I had the shepherd’s pie Friday night and I agreed with everyone who said it was way too much for one person too eat. I agreed sincerely and then I looked down and realized I’d eaten it all.
Saturday night, I ordered it again so you can see why I’d be extra glad for all that dancing and the opportunity to work it off in such a happy way.
I went all-in on the Irish mischief this year, but I covered my spiritual bases as well with a preemptive visit to Saturday afternoon’s Celtic mass. The inside cover of Father Bill’s mass bulletin featured a Celtic cross with the words, “May God look down and bless you. May you look up and give thanks.”
So, I did.
Thank you, too, to all of the organizers, volunteers, cooks, bar tenders, musicians, dancers and board members who worked together to make the second annual Irish Fest even more magical than the first.