Posts Tagged ‘Guinness’

The largest Irish festival in Southern California returns this weekend for its 42nd year running. The BIG Irish Fair returns to El Dorado Park in Long Beach this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm both days, delivering two days’ worth of Irish fun in the sun, filled with many activities, live entertainment, animals, merchandise, vehicles, food, drinks, kids’ activities, games, and much more. Just to name a few of the things guests will experience at the Irish Fair:

  • Spectate thousands of Irish dancers participating in numerous competitions at the various stages at the far end of the festival.
  • Listen and dance to dozens of live Celtic bands, including the Irish Ska Pirate band California Celts.
  • Watch marching bands compete for best in show, with plenty of bagpipes to go around.
  • Pet lots of animals from Ireland, such as sheep, border collies, and more.
  • Gasp in amazement at the athletic feats of the sports competitions in the far field across from the entrance.
  • Stroll through reenactments of older times in the countryside of Ireland.
  • Cheer for all the participating individuals in the grand parade, including the Rose of Tralee.
  • Peer at the Irish vehicles, including real DeLoreans like the one from Back To The Future.
  • Taste the Irish culture with authentic Irish food, such as bangers.
  • Peruse through the various merchandise vendors, selling lots of Irish souvenirs and memorabilia.

The BIG Irish Fair will contain plenty of fun and excitement for the entire family. The festivities run from 10am to 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday. General admission presale costs $15 per adult per day, while a 2-day adult admission costs $25. Seniors and students can enter for $13 each. Kids 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission. Admission will increase by $3 when purchasing at the gate. Parking will range from $5 to $10. This festival takes place entirely outdoors, so dress appropriately for hot weather, and apply sunscreen prior to leaving home. The venue does not allow attendees to bring chairs, coolers, canopies, or any other large camping item; however, the park will provide more than enough tables and benches in the shaded areas. If you plan to purchase anything, bring cash, as the vendors cannot accept cards.

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The largest Irish festival in Southern California returns this weekend for its 40th year running. The BIG Irish Fair returns to El Dorado Park in Long Beach this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm both days, delivering two days’ worth of Irish fun in the sun, filled with many activities, live entertainment, animals, merchandise, vehicles, food, drinks, kids’ activities, games, and much more. Just to name a few of the things guests will experience at the Irish Fair:

  • Spectate thousands of Irish dancers participating in numerous competitions at the various stages at the far end of the festival.
  • Listen and dance to dozens of live Celtic bands, including the Irish Ska Pirate band California Celts.
  • Watch marching bands compete for best in show, with plenty of bagpipes to go around.
  • Pet lots of animals from Ireland, such as sheep, border collies, and more.
  • Gasp in amazement at the athletic feats of the sports competitions in the far field across from the entrance.
  • Stroll through reenactments of older times in the countryside of Ireland.
  • Cheer for all the participating individuals in the grand parade, including the Rose of Tralee.
  • Peer at the Irish vehicles, including real DeLoreans like the one from Back To The Future.
  • Taste the Irish culture with authentic Irish food, such as bangers.
  • Peruse through the various merchandise vendors, selling lots of Irish souvenirs and memorabilia.

The BIG Irish Fair will contain plenty of fun and excitement for the entire family. The festivities run from 10am to 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday. General admission presale costs $15 per adult per day, while a 2-day adult admission costs $25. Seniors and students can enter for $13 each. Kids 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission. Admission will increase by $3 when purchasing at the gate. Parking will range from $5 to $10. This festival takes place entirely outdoors, so dress appropriately for hot weather, and apply sunscreen prior to leaving home. The venue does not allow attendees to bring chairs, coolers, canopies, or any other large camping item; however, the park will provide more than enough tables and benches in the shaded areas. If you plan to purchase anything, bring cash, as the vendors cannot accept cards.

 

Orange County’s largest Irish cultural festival moved to Long Beach for its 39th annual run this past Father’s Day weekend at El Dorado Park. This festival celebrates Irish culture by throwing together thousands of traditional Irish step dancers, a handful of Celtic bands, lots of characters, and more vendors than you can shake a clover at. First-time visitors to this fair may feel overwhelmed at all the activities available – after all, they call it the BIG Irish Fair for a good reason. Luckily, this fair takes place on two consecutive days, allowing guests to select which day they want to explore this fair. The event staff provides a map of the fair, as long as guests can read it and get past the immediate wave of vendors upon walking in through the front gate.

Immediately upon entering, guests walked through two aisles of various vendors selling all sorts of stuff. Some of these booths contained information, such as the booth about the Rose of Tralee, which resembles an honoring title, like a Miss America for the Irish.

The Irish love cars, and they proudly display their automobiles that have any Irish background, including real DeLoreans.

Unlike last year where the animals, such as herding border collies, the sheep herd, and Irish wolfhounds, all situated around one area, this year separated the two different packs. The sheep herding demonstration took place at the south end of the festival, while visitors could find the Irish wolfhounds at the north end of the festival.

Once past the vendors at the entrance, visitors walking to the left would find three shaded stages housing the Irish step dancing competitions, where girls and boys display their precision and grace with their fluid and bouncing movements.

Right in front of the step dancing tents, visitors could walk by various Irish art on display.

Following a clockwise route from the step dancing tents, the Royal Tara Village allowed visitors to observe and participate in reenactments of traditional Irish life, including demos on playing with Irish musical instruments. Back here, visitors could also interact with Irish wolfhounds.

Down the center of the festival lie all the food and drink vendors. Sadly they did not offer much in the line of Irish food. I eventually settled for some Shepherd’s Pie, which could not measure up to the quality of actual Irish pubs.

At the far back of the festival, we end up at the Shamrock Bowl, where the traditional Celtic bands played to large crowds all weekend.

Continuing clockwise around the festival, we close the circle back to the entrance with the Emerald Bowl. Not only did this stage feature the bagpipe players, but this stage’s lineup included more of the younger, modern Celtic bands that carried more modern rock sounds, such as a Celtic reggae band, and a handful of Irish punk bands.

The Big Irish Fair has now completed its 39th year running, operating very similarly to how they did many years ago. Of note, they use traditional means of marketing and advertising the fair. Today, the new generation uses a lot of internet and social media to get word of events out to the public, as well as publications like local newspapers or magazines. In the past few years I have attended the Irish Fair, I barely discovered any form of marketing – I personally originally discovered it through word of mouth. Speaking of the past few years, very little has changed as far as structure and activities. If you attended the Irish Fair many years ago, you would not miss a lot in the recent years of the fair. Also, for an Irish Fair, the fair did not emphasize Irish food, or at least American Irish food. One booth sold Fish & Chips, but at a quality like a county or state fair, meaning mostly fried with little regard to the quality of the fish and chips. Another booth posted a Corned Beer & Cabbage sign; however, that booth lied with the sign because they sold corned beef sandwiches that contained so little meat. For a true corned beef sandwich, head to Roscoe’s Deli in Fullerton, where they pile on over a pound of meat on your sandwich. In the end, first or second time visitors to the fair will enjoy it, especially if you attend with friends and/or family. But as the fair barely changes year after year, attending more than two years in the row yields less excitement. If you have not gone, then I certainly recommend attending next year. If you already have attended, spread the word out to your friends and family. For such a low price to enter, any new attendee will easily get his or her money’s worth.

Orange County’s largest Irish cultural festival returned for its 38th annual run this past Father’s Day weekend at Oak Canyon Park out in the hills of Irvine. This festival celebrates Irish culture by throwing together thousands of traditional Irish step dancers, a handful of Celtic bands, lots of characters, and more vendors than you can shake a clover at. First-time visitors to this fair may feel overwhelmed at all the activities available – after all, they call it the BIG Irish Fair for a good reason. Luckily, this fair takes place on two consecutive days, allowing guests to select which day they want to explore this fair. The event staff provides a map of the fair, as long as guests can read it and get past the immediate wave of vendors upon walking in through the front gate.

Once past the initial wave of vendors, guests will find a Fish & Chips booth and the Sean Baun’s Stage, complete with its own lineup of Celtic bands.

Continuing onwards past the stage and the lake places guests out in a wide field with many more things to see and do. One of the exhibits out here features Irish automobiles, including real DeLoreans.

Guests would find animals to the right of the automobiles. The animals including herding border collies and the sheep herd, and Irish wolfhounds.

On the other side of the automobiles, the Emerald Bowl sat under the shade of the big tree. This stage’s lineup included more of the younger, modern Celtic bands that carried more modern rock sounds, such as a Celtic reggae band, and a handful of Irish punk bands.

Down at the far end of the fair, guests will find three shaded stages housing the Irish step dancing competitions, where girls display their precision and grace with their fluid and bouncing movements.

Immediately adjacent to the step dancing area lies the football field. Throughout the day, teams would appear on the field to play rounds of football (soccer) or Gaelic football (offshoot of rugby).

Following a counter-clockwise route from the entrance after the athletic fields, the Innisfree Pavilion allows guests to observe and participate in reenactments of traditional Irish life, including demos on playing with Irish musical instruments.

In this back area, guests could purchase some of the art on display randomly throughout the fair.

Continuing full-circle, we now return to the front of the fair on the left side of the entrance, where more vendors set up shop.

Completing the circle tour of the fair, we end up at the Shamrock Bowl, where the traditional Celtic bands played to large crowds all weekend.

At random points during the fair, bagpipe bands would march and play around the fair, each representing a different squad/team.

The Big Irish Fair hosted its own Rose of Tralee pageant, but had already selected their Rose of Tralee prior to the fair. Think of the Rose of Tralee like an Irish version of Miss America, because the organization selects a young woman with the beauty and brains to represent their organization for a year.

The Big Irish Fair has now completed its 38th year running, operating very similarly to how they did many years ago. Of note, they use traditional means of marketing and advertising the fair. Today, the new generation uses a lot of internet and social media to get word of events out to the public, as well as publications like local newspapers or magazines. In the past few years I have attended the Irish Fair, I barely discovered any form of marketing – I personally originally discovered it through word of mouth. Speaking of the past few years, very little has changed as far as structure and activities. If you attended the Irish Fair many years ago, you would not miss a lot in the recent years of the fair. Also, for an Irish Fair, the fair did not sell Irish food, or at least American Irish food. One booth sold Fish & Chips, but at a quality like a county or state fair, meaning mostly fried with little regard to the quality of the fish and chips. Another booth posted a Corned Beer & Cabbage sign; however, that booth lied with the sign because they sold corned beef sandwiches that contained so little meat. For a true corned beef sandwich, head to Roscoe’s Deli in Fullerton, where they pile on over a pound of meat on your sandwich. In the end, first or second time visitors to the fair will enjoy it, especially if you attend with friends and/or family. But as the fair barely changes year after year, attending more than two years in the row yields less excitement. If you have not gone, then I certainly recommend attending next year. If you already have attended, spread the word out to your friends and family. For such a low price to enter, any new attendee will easily get his or her money’s worth.

The largest Irish festival in Orange County returns this weekend for its 38th year running. The BIG Irish Fair comes to Oak Canyon Park this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm both days, delivering two days’ worth of Irish fun in the sun, filled with many activities, live entertainment, animals, merchandise, vehicles, food, drinks, kids’ activities, games, and much more. Just to name a few of the things guests will experience at the Irish Fair:

  • Spectate thousands of Irish dancers participating in numerous competitions at the various stages at the far end of the festival.
  • Listen and dance to dozens of live Celtic bands, including the Irish Ska Pirate band California Celts.
  • Watch marching bands compete for best in show, with plenty of bagpipes to go around.
  • Pet lots of animals from Ireland, such as sheep, border collies, and more.
  • Gasp in amazement at the athletic feats of the sports competitions in the far field across from the entrance.
  • Stroll through reenactments of older times in the countryside of Ireland.
  • Cheer for all the participating individuals in the grand parade, including the Rose of Tralee.
  • Peer at the Irish vehicles, including real DeLoreans like the one from Back To The Future.
  • Taste the Irish culture with authentic Irish food, such as bangers.
  • Peruse through the various merchandise vendors, selling lots of Irish souvenirs and memorabilia.

The BIG Irish Fair will contain plenty of fun and excitement for the entire family. The festivities run from 10am to 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday. General admission presale costs $15 per adult per day, while a 2-day adult admission costs $22. Seniors and students can enter for $12 each. Kids 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission. Until 11:59pm this Thursday, you can purchase general admission tickets for only $8 using this link. Admission will increase by $3 when purchasing at the gate. This festival takes place entirely outdoors, so dress appropriately for hot weather, and apply sunscreen prior to leaving home. The venue does not allow attendees to bring chairs, coolers, canopies, or any other large camping item; however, the park will provide more than enough tables and benches in the shaded areas. If you plan to purchase anything, bring cash, as the vendors cannot accept cards.

The BIG Irish Fair takes place at Oak Canyon Park out in the hills of Irvine. To arrive there, make your way to the 55 Freeway, exit Chapman, and drive east all the way into the hills. You will pass two toll roads and the Irvine Lake Park, before turning left onto Haul Road and following the road from there. If approaching from south of Lake Forest, take El Toro Road all the way into the hills, then at the final split, turn left onto Santiago Canyon Road and drive up this road all the way until Haul Road on the right. Expect to see volunteers receiving cash for parking, which cost $7 last year.

Prior to 2012, the BIG Irish Fair used to take place at Hidden Valley Park, opposite from the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. With the closure of that park, the fair moved to its new home in 2012 at Oak Canyon Park. The activities remained the same between the transmission.

With one week left until St. Patrick’s Day, the 2013 Los Angeles Irish Fair took off this past weekend at the Fairplex in Pomona. As a precursor to St. Patrick’s Day, this festival celebrates the Irish way by immersing guests in Irish culture in the form of music, dance, food, activities, reenactments, and, of course, beer. As an all-ages festival, Irish Fair featured mainly G-rated activities and entertainment, with a few exceptions such as a Guinness-drinking contest. Organizers took extra care to decorate the Fairplex, rendering green decor everywhere, including green water in the fountains.

Activities and entertainment remained spread out throughout the venue area, with some of the food, merchandise, music, and attractions at the front and the back of the fest. The standard food vendors served basic Irish faire, such as bangers, shepherd’s pie, and corned beef sandwiches. To truly savor Irish cuisine, one of the halls housed an Irish buffet. For $20, guests could access this buffet, complete with salads, shepherd’s pie, corned beef & cabbage, bangers, fish & chips, fresh-sliced corned beef, and assorted pastries. The scattered vendors sold mainly tourist goods with the Irish theme. Guests searching for authentic Irish apparel & accessories had to travel to the back area, where all of the clans set up – guests wanting to experience any reenactments had to travel to the back area as well.

Ultimately, this fest contained more music acts than anything else, as the day never went silent. Featuring a mix of cover and original bands, the music ranged from traditional to classical to rock to ska… yes, ska.

Southern California does not see too many annual Irish cultural festivals that do not involve St. Patrick’s Day, but when such a festival occurs, the Irish feel proud. Any event cannot please everyone, but the LA Irish Fest comes closest to accomplishing that, despite the commercialization involved. Note that not all entertainers actually come from the country represented by the event – I see the same actors at other fests, such as Scottish Fest and Pirate Fest. Commercialized vendors always tend to hold a spot near the front, while the more authentic vendors often get placed in the back or on the sides. For example, I did not travel to ScotsFest to eat pizza – I ordered the haggis. At Irish Fair, I do not want to see hamburgers sold – I went straight for the corned beef and bangers. The sight of all the green beers made me feel uneasy too. Calling green beer Irish directly compares to calling orange chicken Chinese food. Drinking green beer does not celebrate Irish culture – it celebrates the Americanization of another culture. Aside from these commercialization issues, all the musical talent made up for that, which featured only local bands and musicians. We also cannot forget the Guinness-drinking contest, as it provides FREE beer to anyone willing to participate.

Missed out on LA Irish Fair? Another Irish Fair will hit Orange County in mid-June, so mark your calendars! Until then, have a FUN and SAFE St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and I will see you all on Monday.

P.S. SCOTTISH citizens wear kilts, not IRISH.