Irish Fest entertains, teaches culture

By Iulia Veselimage

Staff Writer

*For security reasons, full disclosure of the name was not possible.

The third edition of the Mount Prospect Irish Fest took place on April 12, bringing the community in a state of celebration between 2-11 p.m.. Held in the Chase Bank parking lot in Downtown Mount Prospect, the event brought together locals as well as neighboring people from Arlington Heights and Des Plaines.

“We knew it would be fun, because we’ve always come and always had a blast,” Irvana Wilks, a local participant and former mayor, said.

A heated tent was welcoming everybody to sit and enjoy authentic Irish food, music and some of the most famous Irish beer brands. The entertainers made sure to create an original, festival-like atmosphere by playing Folk, Jazz, Irish, Swing and a little bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Some of the performing bands were The Dooley Brothers, who’ve been entertaining Chicagoland for 30 years now, a local group called They Might Be Irish and Larkin & Moran Brothers.

The event was organized by the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce, and the entertainment was sponsored by Capannari’s Ice Cream.

“I think it’s well organized,” Wilks said. “They’ve put it on before with the German Fest and now they’re doing it with the Irish Fest, so I think everybody’s just having a good time.”

The Mount Prospect Police Department, along with the Fire Department and an independent Chicagoland security enterprise were in charge of keeping the peace and making sure the event goes on without any problems.

“I don’t see anybody doing anything outrageously stupid,” Keith*, a security guard, said. “They’re just having a couple of beers, having conversation, meeting with friends, listening to music. They’re just having fun.”

Apart from the bands performing, locals had a chance to try food vendors like Harrington’s, Olympus Gyros, Mount Prospect Firefighters Union serving hamburgers and hot dogs and Completely Nuts serving almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans. The famous Guinness and Harp beers were served by the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce at a central-located vendor.

Placed between the food vendors, locals had a chance to check out the Irish “Swag” Vendors like Galway Bakers or Mount Prospect Junior Women’s Club serving green beads, hats, mustaches and ice cubes.

The money raised by the Mount Prospect Junior Women’s Club will be given away to charity, which is why people were encouraged to visit. Locals were respecting the tradition by wearing Irish green shirts, hats and beads.

Even though it is only the third year this is happening, the participants were numerous.

“This is the third year, and you know, we have a German Fest, we have a French sister city, so back then we thought ‘Why shouldn’t we have an Irish fest?’,” Wilks said.