First annual Irish Fest comes to Akron

By: Cydney Woodyard

Sept. 16 and 17, Lock 3 will be taken over by the Irish for the first annual Akron Irish Cultural Festival to celebrate halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day.

The Irish festival will be a celebration of culture with performances by Maidens IV, Brigid’s Cross, several local favorite Irish bands, and will feature Red Rebel County. These bands will be paying tribute to Irish rock bands such as Flogging Molly, the Dropkick Murphys and others. In addition to the music, the MacConmara Academy of Irish Dance will perform both nights.

“The main draw is the celebration of halfway to St. Patrick’s Day, a way to share Irish heritage with a community so deeply embedded in Irish history,” Rebecca Davey said.

Accompanying the music will also be an abundance of Irish food, located in the Irish Food Court and Irish Marketplace. Visitors are invited to come early for lunch at 11 a.m. Friday and 12 p.m. Saturday.

In the O’Neil commons, there will be displays on Irish culture and the history of Ireland, as well as demonstrations of Irish dance, music and more. On Friday night, there will be a tribute to area police and firemen. On Saturday, there will be a “Rock Your Kilt!” contest as well as a huge jam session with Red Rebel County.

There will also be the chance to design the logo for the second annual Akron Irish Cultural Festival, which will take place in 2012. The competition will be divided into levels for high school students, college students and professionals. The logos must be submitted by Sept. 16 at the Lock 3 Akron Irish Cultural Festival information booth between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Entries must contain the words “Akron Irish Cultural Festival” as well as “1/2 Way to St. Patrick’s Day, Lock 3” and should embody the Irish culture and heritage of Summit County by representing things like local teams, celebrations and musicians or bands. All of the entries will be on display at the Irish Cultural Area during festival hours. The winner of each category will be contacted by the Akron Irish Cultural Festival and will receive a $100 cash prize as well as recognition as the winner via publicity.

“This is the first year for this event and we wanted to keep up with the youth, excitement and growth of the Akron area,” Davey said.