Irish festival returns to Clement Park

Dancers compete during the Colorado Irish Festival in Clement Park. All ages faced off at the Feis Stage during the three-day festival July 9-11 that featured many examples of Irish culture, including food, music, dance and athletics. Photo by Courtney Kuhlen | ckuhlen@ccnewspapers.com
Staff report
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Clement Park is gearing up to go green July 12-14 for the 19th Annual Colorado Irish Festival, which is offering two chances to get in free this year.

The first is July 12 from 5 to 6 p.m. to help kick off the event. The second is for July 14 early risers, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Proving that the festival celebrates all aspects of Irish heritage, the faithful can participate in a traditional Catholic Mass at 9 a.m. that day, as well.

International acts including Gaelic Storm, Seven Nations, The Elders and The Fighting Jamesons will join more than 20 local bands on three stages to perform traditional Irish music and contemporary Gaelic rock. Gaelic Storm was featured in James Cameron’s blockbuster hit “Titanic” as the band playing in the ship’s steerage area, and organizers are excited to have them back.

“They and our other national acts play to crowds of thousands around the country, and folks can see them here, in a very intimate setting, for only $15,” said entertainment coordinator Bill O’Donnell. “Festival attendees are going to see some fantastic performances for a price they cannot get anywhere else.”

New this year is the Paddy’O, a VIP tent featuring a private bar, snacks, restrooms and the opportunity to interact with members of the performing acts between sets.

Competition will be a theme, with step dancing at Columbine High School and sports throughout the weekend. The Gaelic Games feature football, hurling and camogie, three sports that are deeply ingrained in Gaelic culture and combine elements of soccer, lacrosse, hockey and basketball, says Greg Phelan of the Denver Gaels football team.

“The festival is an opportunity for us to showcase these sports, and the great spirit of competition that accompanies them, to the Colorado community,” said Phelan.

All proceeds from the Colorado Irish Festival will be donated to the Colorado United Irish Societies (CUIS), a Denver-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting Irish culture and businesses across Colorado.

“Young, old, Irish or not, everyone is invited to share in the festivities, food and fun, and contribute to a great cause while doing it,” said Shelly O’Hara, event planner for the CUIS.

Clement Park is at the intersection of West Bowles Avenue and South Pierce Street in unincorporated Jefferson County. For more information, visit www.coloradoirishfestival.org.

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