June 20, 2005


I survived another birthday and the 18th annual Fairfield County Irish Festival. And lemme tell ya, if you've never been to an Irish Festival the you're missing out on one helluva good time.

For years the festival was held on the grounds of Roger Ludlow High School in Fairfield, CT (next town to the west of Bridgeport). A few years ago it was held at Jennings Beach in Fairfield then, in the past two years, at Seaside Park in Bridgeport.
This year, however, it was held in the drop dead gorgeous densely wooded Indian Ledge Park in Trumbull (next town to the north of Bridgeport).

Through the woods winds a narrow paved road that leads a clearing that's a parking area. From there you walk to a vast open field (a well maintained great lawn, actually) where the numerous tents are set up. Performance-wise, there's the Pub Tent (second-tier Irish music bands), the Cultural Tent (readings, workshops and a game of Irish Jeopardy) and the Main Tent (headliner bands, a bagpipe band and, my favorite, the girls and guys of the Lanihan School of Irish Dance).

If you ever get a chance to see Irish dancers live, grab it! I've seen Riverdance on television and, as cool as that is, it just doesn't compare to seeing the dancers live. Especially when they're the little ones. They're so cute in their colorful little outfits and their smiley faces with their little legs flailing a mile a minute in unison!

Of course, there were plenty of food tents, too, and hundreds of people were picnicing on the great lawn between the tents and some carnival rides with their corned beef sammiches and other Irishy fare. But, you don't go to an Irish Festival for the food, you go to an ITALIAN Festival for the food. You to an Irish Festival for the MUSIC. Lawruh and I arrived at park around 3:15pm and, after perusing the huge bric-a-brc tent (neato Irish clothes, books, jewelry, etc) caught the first set of the local band The Highland Rovers. They took a break with a great local Irish drum and pipe band in awesome kilt outfits blared away. The Highland Rovers played another set (great traditional/modern mix!) followed by the Irish dancers.

After milling about for a while we met with my sister and two cousins. Then things got interesting. Not only did my two male cousins show up plastered, they both started hitting on Lawruh -- especially Don. Holy moly. I thought Lawruh might be getting annoyed, but she actually had a blast.

Then the excellent bamd The Elders took the stage and, by the end of their set, we were on the dance floor trying to mimic the Irish dancers. It ended up as a full-blown half-assed Irish mosh pit! (No actual moshing, though. There were lots of kids around.)

After some more hanging around and getting goofy the dancers did their second show. My sister and cousins had missed the first one, but Lawruh and I were more than happy to see them again. Then the main headliner, Black 47, would close out the evening. (Most of the performers would play on all three days of the festival, but Black 47 was there for Saturday only.) But since it was now 9:00pm and we were pretty much all out of money, we decided to head over the cousin Bri's house for some dinner and yakkety yak.

All he had in the house, pretty much, was some pasta and sauce and hot dogs and a bag of lettuce. Lawruh whipped up some homemade salad dressing and I made some spaghetti with sliced franks. We served it with some bread and butter and a weird fruit concoction. (I simply mixed a jar of apple sauce with two cut-up apples, a drained can of mandarin orange slices and a drained can of sliced peaches spiced with some cinnimon... served hot.) We ate by candle light.

After a few more beers and a few more hours and someincreasing poignant conversation, the time to call it a day had come. A splendid time was had by all.

Except for Don. He disappeared shortly after arriving at the house. But one of Bri's housemates filled the space quite nicely. Hey, guys, let's do it again soon. 'kay?!

Posted by Tuning Spork at June 20, 2005 09:31 PM
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