Saturday, August 18, 2012

Work and Play at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Today I spent the day along the Milwaukee Lakefront to work and attend Irish Fest.  Apparently, this is the largest Irish festival in the United States, and people come from all over (mostly Chicago) for one weekend in August to drink Guinness, eat fish & chips, and listen to Gaelic music.

I was there this morning as a volunteer with Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, an organization which promotes conservation and the environment in Southeastern Wisconsin.  I had volunteered with this organization before at their Green Living Festival where I took photos for their website and other publications.  I did take some photos today for them, as well as work the Information table.  They had a really fun way to get kids involved in learning about the environment by having a Bingo game.  There were 7 tables set up where the kids could either answer questions or play a game to get a blot on their bingo forms and when they got 4 squares blotted in a row, they went to the end table to spin a wheel and either win a small prize on the spot or enter the raffle for even nicer prize.  Some of the sponsors of the raffle included Whole Foods, Olive Garden and Gift of Wings, a kite store in town.

Like I said, I did take some pictures, but as a volunteer, I believe that they now belong to Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful.  I did post one photo below to show you one type of display they had, this one from Weir Nature Center.

After my shift was over, I grabbed some lunch (shrimp and chips, yum!), watched one of the Irish Dance Troupes for a little while, and then ventured through the crowd to see what else was going on in the festival.  There was a lot of food, as with all of the ethnic festivals.  But, there was also music:

A rowing regata:

Irish dogs (hard to believe this one is only 6 months old),

And, even leprechauns:

Back to the dogs.  I had to do a double-take when I saw this sign.  A lot of other people were taking photos of it as well.

On the way out of the festival fairgrounds, I passed through the south exit where they have a brand-new sculpture to celebrate the fact that Summerfest, the 2-week festival held there in June/July, is the largest music festival in the world.

They also updated the south entrance itself:

Irish Fest is one of those festivals you can enjoy even if you're not Irish.  There's a lot of good music, dancing, food and history (and, of course, beer).  The festival will be held tomorrow as well from 11:00 until 10:00 p.m.  For more information, visit: