Iowa Irish Invade Cedar Valley
on Monday, August 1, 2016
Move over Nordic Fest in Decorah! See ya later Waverly Oktoberfest! August 5-7 is Iowa Irish Fest in Waterloo, a celebration of all things Irish (and a few Scottish things, too). It’s an event with wide appeal: more than 33 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry in the last US census, with around 415,000 of these Irish Americans living in Iowa. Iowa Irish Fest celebrates Celtic heritage, and all are welcome, Irish or not.
Iowa Irish Fest offers a range of events for every age group and interest. You can compete in the Highland Games, experience incredible and diverse music on three stages, take part in kid-friendly activities in the family area, or put your best foot forward in the “Best Legs in a Kilt” contest. And this list barely scratches the surface!
Gaelic Storm and Red Hot Chili Pipers are the returning headliners for the evening concerts this year, and both bands promise a raucous good time—especially if you’ve been into the Guinness by that time of night. Other favorite bands are returning as well, including Scythian, the Young Wolfe Tones, the Elders, Tallymoore, the Screaming Orphans, and more. The world-famous Trinity Irish Dancers will be appearing several times throughout the weekend as well.
For those who are interested in the history, language, and folklore of Ireland, there is a documentary screening about the Easter 1916 uprising, a beginning Irish language class, and Storyteller Malarkey. 2016 is an historic year for both Iowa Irish Fest and the Republic of Ireland, with Iowa Irish Fest celebrating 10 years, and the Republic of Ireland observing the centenary of the 1916 Easter uprising against English occupation.
Sunday morning at Irish Fest is an outdoor, BYOP (bring your own pew) Catholic Mass celebrated by Father Tom McDermott of Blessed Sacrament in Waterloo. For those attending Mass who haven’t purchased wristbands, donation of a non-perishable food item is requested for admission to the festival Sunday morning, with donations going to Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
Check out more of the Irish Fest schedule here, or download the phone app! Admission for the three-day festival is free for children 12 and under and $20 for everyone else, whether they’re Irish or not. Irish Fest is still looking for fantastic volunteers to make the festival the best one yet!
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while attending the festival, check out our list of lodgings.
Want more ideas of places to visit, shop or dine while in the Cedar Valley? Browse our website or give us a call at the Cedar Falls Visitor Center. We can be reached at 319-268-4266 (800-845-1955). Or, stop by the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 6510 Hudson Road. We’re open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm, Saturday, 9 am – 4 pm and Sunday, noon until 4 pm.
We’d be happy to help you!
Guest blog post by Hannah Carr-Murphy.
All photos courtesy Iowa Irish Fest.
- gaelic storm
- highland games
- irish fest
- irish stew
- red hot chili pipers
- screaming orphans
- shamrock n run 5k
- soda bread
- trinity irish dancers
- whiskey tasting
- young wolfe tones