The North Texas Irish Festival is back with another year of amazing music, dance, and cultural talent to celebrate the rich tradition of Irish and Celtic culture. This year’s event is March 8-10, 2019, in Dallas’s own Fair Park. Tens of thousands of people will come from across Texas and other parts of the country to visit one of the largest Irish festivals in the U.S., a family-friendly event that features live music, dancing, storytelling, chef demonstrations and more on 13 stages throughout Fair Park. Attendees will also enjoy horse shows, sheepherding demonstrations, beer and whiskey tasting, genealogy research opportunities, shopping, animal rescue groups, child-friendly entertainment, and free arts and crafts for the kids.
New for this year is another opportunity to kick up your heels, this time at the first-ever North Texas Irish Festival Fun Run, to take place Saturday, March 9. This family-friendly fun run is perfect for runners or walkers of any age or ability, and also for dogs! All registered participants will receive a T-shirt, a “bottle opener” medal, one ticket to the North Texas Irish Festival, and two beers after the run if you are of legal drinking age. This non-timed 5K fun run will benefit Friends of Fair Park and the Southwest Celtic Music Association.
“We are always excited to add new elements of fun to the event,” said Sheri Bush, president of the Southwest Celtic Music Association Inc., the organization that produces the North Texas Irish Festival and provides music and dance scholarships to local students. “This fun run will kick off Saturday morning with a bang, and give families yet another activity to enjoy together. After the run, they can relax and enjoy the rest of the festivities.”
Unique as the largest cultural celebration in DFW, and one of the largest Irish festivals in the U.S., the North Texas Irish Festival is produced annually by almost 1,000 volunteers, some of whom have volunteered for decades, often alongside generations of their families. This is the festival’s 37th year.
Music, dancing, whiskey tastings, blacksmithing demonstrations, horse displays, Celtic storytelling, animal rescue groups, Shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, dozens of activities for kids and child-friendly entertainment, and chef demonstrations are all found at this family-friendly festival that includes 13 stages of entertainment.
The heart and soul of the North Texas Irish Festival is the music, which goes on all weekend long and features musicians and bands from around the world. National headlining performers are: Eileen Ivers, Socks in the Frying Pan, Open the Door for Three, Brian McNeil, The Wee Heavies, Shared Madness, The Piper Jones Band, and The Here and Now. Featured regional performers include: 5 Second Rule, Behan, Beyond the Pale, CLEGHORN, Don Gabbert, Irish Rogues, Jigsaw, LessMore & Too Much Time, Michael William Harrison, North Texas Caledonian Pipes & Drums, Plunk Murray, Reel Treble, Sarah Copus, Seamus Stout, Skeleton McKee, Slugger’s Rule, Sombati, String Theory, The Jig Is Up!, The Rogues, The Skelkie Girls, Therese Honey, Threadneedle St., Tullamore, and Vintage Wildflowers.
The rhythmic magic of Irish step dancing is something you simply can’t miss. Dancers of all ages – many of whom compete at the world championship level -- will delight audiences with continuous performances on the dance stage in Fair Park’s historic Tower Building. New for this year are beautiful presentations from another well-loved cultural group, Ballet Folklorico Mexicano Ollimpaxqui, who will wow the crowd with their beautiful celebration of Mexican folk dance. In addition, there will be dance workshops throughout the weekend, and everyone is encouraged to get into the spirit of Ireland at Saturday night’s Dance “Céilí,” a traditional Irish party that is open for everyone to attend. Don’t miss Teatro Dallas, the premier Latin theater group in North Texas, who will also be on-hand to chat with fans and entertain in the Tower Building.
The North Texas Irish Festival brings together a wide variety of exhibitors, workshops and demonstrations.
Pick up a few culinary tricks for modern Irish cuisine (and sample it!) at the Chef Stage, where chefs including Chef Wade Burch from Perle on Maple, Kelli Watts from Savor Patisserie, Scott Jones from Jack’s Kitchen and Joey Allette from Team Building with Taste will all spill some of their best Celtic culinary secrets! Also, don’t miss special mixology demonstrations from BlackEyed Distilling Co.’s BLK EYE Vokda and from Five Farms Irish Cream.
Urchin Street will offer a special place where kids can find entertainment, education, play and fun, including crafts, music, dance, storytelling, magic and mystery. Storytellers -- or “Shanachie” – will perform traditional Irish stories in the way that the Irish learned of their history for hundreds of years.
Love animals? The North Texas Irish Festival hosts animal rescue groups where you can find your new best friend – or, if you already have one, bring your pet into the festival to enjoy it with you for a $1 donation. Equestrian shows, blacksmithing, sheep herding and other demonstrations will be performed in various areas of Fair Park.
Hours, Admission and Location
Gates open on Friday evening, March 8, at 6 p.m. Hours are 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday; 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9; and 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.
North Texas Irish Festival Fun Run is Saturday, March 9, 8-11 a.m. Packet pick-up is at 7 a.m. at the
Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park. Fun run registration is available online at: https://tinyurl.com/ycb3pwex.
Tickets for the North Texas Irish Festival are available online in February at www.ntif.org. Admission is FREE on Friday from 6 to 7 p.m.; $10 after. A one-day ticket is $20 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday at the gate, while a two-day ticket is $25 and a weekend pass is $30. Discount tickets are available at area Tom Thumb and Albertsons stores. Children 11 and under are FREE when accompanied by adult family member. Seniors over 65 or current military members (with valid military ID) receive $5 off all gate prices. Dogs are allowed in on a short leash with a $1 requested donation to animal rescue groups supported by the festival. Leprechauns (in full ceremonial dress and carrying pot of gold) are FREE.
Parking is available in and around Fair Park, or attendees can take the DART (take the Green Line!) to the front entrance of Fair Park and the North Texas Irish Festival. Detailed directions and parking tips are available at www.ntif.org. The public can call (214) 821-4173, or visit www.ntif.org for more information or to volunteer to work at the festival.