Long Grove's Irish Days includes a dog contest, men in kilts, music

Historic downtown Long Grove is bringing back its annual Irish Days festival Saturday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 4, and organizers say this year's event will bigger and better than ever.

The McNulty Irish Dancers perform during a previous Irish Days celebration in Long Grove. The Irish dance troupe will once again perform at Long Grove's 2023 Irish Days Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 2-3. Daily Herald File Photo

The three-day, family-friendly celebration will include Irish culture bagpipers, folk bands and Irish dancers, as well as Irish foods, beer and the festival's always entertaining contests. Festival hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2; 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3; and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, at 145 Old McHenry Road, in Long Grove.

Admission and parking are free. For information, visit

The festival features some of Chicago's top Irish musicians, dance troupes and entertainment. New this year is Irish Days After Dark on Sept. 2, where the U2 tribute band Without U2 will keep the crowd rocking after the sun goes down.

The Irish Dog Competition is one of the highlights at Long Grove's Irish Days festival in downtown Long Grove. Daily Herald File Photo

A favorite pastime at Irish Days is the Irish Dog Competition, where all dogs dressed in costume are paraded around with hopes to earn votes. Each day, a panel of children will judge the entries and crown an Irish Doggie King, Queen, Prince and Princess.

The contest is open to any dog whose owner registers them the day-of at the competition area located at the ticket booth.

Perhaps the biggest laughs of the weekend come from the Best-Looking Men's Legs in a Kilt contest, where grown men who dress the part strut their stuff on stage. Interested male contestants should wear their best kilt (or borrow one from organizers for no charge) and register at the event.

The full Irish Days schedule of activities is as follows:

Saturday, Sept 2:

• 10:45-11:45 a.m.: Academy of Irish Music

• Noon to 12:30 p.m.: McNulty School of Dance

• 12:45-1:15 p.m.: Best Legs in Kilt Contest

• 1:20-3 p.m.: The Boils

• 3:15-3:45 p.m.: Shannon Rovers

• 4-5:30 p.m.: The Larkin & Moran Bros.

• 6 -8 p.m.: Without U2

Sunday, Sept 3

• 10 a.m.: Mass celebrated with Frs. Tim Fairman and Matt Jamesson, with musical accompaniment by Gavin Coyle

• 11-11:20 a.m.: Trinity School of Dance

• 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.: Gavin Coyle

• 1-1:30 p.m.: Best Legs in Kilt Competition

• 1:45-3-15 p.m.: The Dooley's & Jimmy Moore

• 3:30-4 p.m.: Shannon Rovers

• 4-4:30 p.m.: McNulty Dancers

• 4:30-5 p.m.: Dog Contest and winners

• 5:30-7 p.m.: The Joyce Boys

Monday, Sept 4

• 11-11:30 a.m.: Hogan School of Dance

• 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.: Kathleen Keane & Jim Conway

• 1:30-2 p.m.: Dog Contest and winners

• 2-2:30 p.m.: Shannon Rovers

• 2:30-4 p.m.: The Chancers

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