Naperville Irish Fest to feature hurling tournament, Irish music and dancing Aug. 6-7
After plans for the inaugural festival got scrapped last year due to the pandemic, West Suburban Irish will be finally putting on their first Naperville Irish Fest this weekend.
On Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7, there will be live music, sports, dancing, food, and fun during a family-friendly festival at the Frontier Sports Complex, 3880 Cedar Glade Road in Naperville. Hours are 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Be a part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the first to enter Irish Fest at 2:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, at the west gate.
Paddy Homan will sing the national anthems for the United States and Ireland, and the Firefighters Highland Guard of Naperville will play traditional pipe and drum favorites. And West Suburban Irish's very own St. Patrick will be there to bestow his blessings for a successful fest. Bring your ticket or purchase it at the gate, and be sure to get there by 2:30 p.m.
One-day tickets are $10 online until Thursday, Aug. 5, or $15 at the gate for anyone 16 or older. Two-day tickets are $15 online until Aug. 5 or $30 at the gate. Children, age 15 or younger, are free. For tickets, go to www.wsirish.org.
Due to personnel shortages and the safety concerns of the carnival workers, fest organizers have withdrawn the carnival rides from the list of events. But there will be plenty of fun-filled activities for all ages throughout the park for everyone to enjoy. Free parking is available at Neuqua Valley High School and in the parking lot on the corner of Book and Conan Doyle Roads, which is on the east side of Frontier Sports Complex. There also will be bike parking near the Naperville Irish Fest entrance. Complimentary bus transportation, courtesy of Quigley's Irish Pub, will be available between the main area and the 95th Street Library on both days.
Hurling & Camogie
Learn about the ancient Gaelic Irish team sport still played today with members of Naperville's very own Hurling & Camogie Club.
In the Hurling Batting Cage, learn how to swing that hurley and knock the sliotar (ball) out of the park during festival hours. All ages are welcome. Hurleys and sliotars provided or bring your own.
There will be demonstrations and hands-on hurling between 3 and 10 p.m. Friday or noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.
See how far you can hit the sliotar (ball) with a hurley stick during the Hurling Long & Straight Shooting Contests from 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Everyone is welcome to give it a shot. The winner will be announced on Saturday between 9 and 10 p.m.
Watch four area clubs competing in a tournament between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday on the Hurling/Camogie Pitch, with the championship game from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The tournament will feature the Naperville Hurling Club, Hurling Club of Madison, Milwaukee Hurling Club, and the Michael Cusack Hurling Club (Chicago).
There will be many activities for children, including bounce houses and face painting, from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Take a photo with the Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Friday. He'll also be giving out some White Sox swag while supplies last.
All ages and abilities can learn the jig with the McNulty School of Irish Dance at 6:20 p.m. Friday or with the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The staff at Naperville's 95th Street Library will entertain your little faeries and leprechauns with traditional Irish folk stories and legends. It's an interactive outdoor event at the Wagner Pavilion at the library, which is adjacent to Frontier Sports Complex. From 4 to 4:45 p.m. Friday, it will be the story of "Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure," based on the book by Robert D. San Souci, and on Saturday, from 11 to 11:45 a.m., it will be "The Bee, the Harp, the Mouse and the Bum-Clock." From 3 to 3:45 p.m., it will be "Fairies Galore" with a description of what Irish fairies are, including short fairy stories and ending with cures for children who've fallen under a fairy spell. Children must be accompanied by parents or adults.
Meet some Irish wolfhounds from the National Irish wolfhound Association from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday at noon, join in "Naperville CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Vehicle" and talk to real-life crime scene technicians and check out the equipment they use to solve crimes, or meet the Naperville Fire Department dive team and see the cool equipment they use. At 2 p.m., see firetrucks and talk with a real live firefighter.
From noon to 3 p.m., bring your wee ones, age 5-12, to a free how-to workshop in "Crafts for Kids," a hands-on session led by Home Depot staff.
Music and dance
Cirrus Falcon will be the opening act for the main stage at 3:30 p.m. The band has been a part of the Chicago music scene for over 20 years and plays a ton of your Irish favorites.
On Friday, the McNulty School of Irish Dance, one of the largest dance schools in the Midwest, will be performing on the main stage at 5 p.m. and on the platform stage at 6 p.m. Learn the jig with the dancers at 6:20 p.m.
At 6 p.m. on the main stage, Paddy Homan, a traditional Irish tenor/bodhran player from Cork, will perform with the Noble Call, featuring Larry Nugent on flute, Brendan Bulger on fiddle, Jesse Langen on guitar, Joe Sheehan on accordion, and Tadgh Spillane, an All-Ireland Dancing Champion.
At 8 p.m. on the main stage, the headliners, Without U2, will re-create the sight and sound of the legendary Irish rock band, including performing extended singalong versions of hits such as "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Mysterious Ways," "New Year's Day," "Desire," "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "Beautiful Day," "I Will Follow," and more.
On the Platform Stage on Friday, School of Rock will perform at 4 p.m. then join in karaoke at 7 p.m. In the Sessions Tent at 4 p.m. both days, anyone who plays a traditional Irish instrument can join in with the Murphy Roche Irish Music Club and School of Irish Music of Burr Ridge.
After the opening ceremony at 2:45 p.m. Friday, the Firefighters Highland Guard of Naperville, a staple at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, will be performing traditional and updated bagpipe tunes at 6 p.m. Friday and noon and 6 p.m. Saturday. Learn more about the band at www.napervillepipeband.com.
On Saturday, The Boils, a Chicago trio delivering a potent blend of jigs, reels and songs, will kick off the main stage musical performances at 1:40 p.m. Featuring Jim Conway on harmonica and tin whistle, Jack Callahan on guitar and vocals, and Mike Austin on bodhran and percussion, The Boils combine their deep respect for tradition with contemporary interpretations, reflecting their Irish-American heritage.
At 1:45 p.m., the Hogan Irish Dance Academy of Arlington Heights will perform on the Platform Stage, followed by the School of Rock at 3:15 p.m. and karaoke at 7 p.m.
Whiskey Mick, six-piece Irish rock cover band with a set list featuring The Pogues, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, The Tossers, Van Morrison and more, will take to the main stage at 3 p.m.
The Trinity Academy of Irish Dance will perform at 4:20 p.m. on the main stage and 5:40 p.m. on the Platform Stage. Then the dancers will show you how to do the jig at 6 p.m. For nearly 40 years, this Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison institution has become the most widely recognized Irish dance program in the world.
At 5:40 p.m. on the main stage, Chicago Reel will offer a new look at Irish traditional music. Fiddle, flute, banjo and button accordion combine with piano to showcase a wide repertoire of reels and jigs -- old and new -- energetic and full of spirit.
Capping off the two-day festival will be Chicago's own Breakfast Club re-creating all the radical sounds, styles and way cool dance steps from the '80s at 8 p.m. on the main stage.