St. Patrick’s Irish Festival

(Video of the 2007 festival)

St. Patrick Catholic Parish
is located on North 25th Street in the heart of the historic Church Hill neighborhood.  St. Patrick sponsors several annual events that have been established to support the religious activities of the church and the church itself. One of these events is the annual Irish Festival, which originated in 1985. The festival usually occurs during the last week in March and is held at Broad Street and 25 th Street. The flyer for this festival states, “In 432 A.D., St. Patrick sailed to Ireland and converted the pagan population. The locals prepared a huge feast in his honor, complete with dancing and music. Alas, St. Patrick did not attend. We’re about to give him one more chance.” This festival celebrates St. Patrick for his contributions to the church and is held in his honor. There is live music, Irish beer, Irish food, and cultural dancing. Each year, a new line-up of musicians attends and plays during this two-day festival. Three stages provide entertainment from musical and dance groups. The Ladies of St. Patrick’s prepare hearty Irish lasagna and corn beef and cabbage. Traditional fish and chips will be served by the chefs at Holy Rosary and local venues such Poe’s Irish Pub. The organizer of the festival reports that “The event started off as a fundraiser for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Church Hill and as support for a lot of its outreach functions, such as the meals program that was held every Saturday. The festival helped with the upkeep of the kitchen, the church hall and also the health clinic.” There is also a children’s area at Patrick Henry Park that features face painting, children’s games and Irish-themed crafts. One of the main highlights of this event is the St. Baldrick’s Foundation head shave during which men and women shave their heads to experience one of the most visible effects of cancer treatment. St. Baldrick’s is a national foundation dedicated to raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. The church also sponsors the Irish Open Tournament to fund the historic preservation of St. Patrick.