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Thanks Irish Fest Fans:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Milwaukee Irish Fest, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the volunteers, sponsors, special guests from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada and Scotland, the patrons, performers, vendors, City of Milwaukee officials and everyone else that helped us celebrate 35 years of Irish music and culture.

Even with such a busy weekend in Milwaukee, our turnout was great and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It seems that everyone enjoyed the festival - especially the stellar music lineup!

With more than 100 different acts on 17 stages featuring new artists like the Kilkennys, FullSet and Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, combined with festival favorites like Gaelic Storm, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and We Banjo 3, festival patrons had the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of music from the world-class international lineup.

The Living Tradition Showcase, our largest musical showcase to date, was a huge hit. The showcase highlighted Irish traditional music with 35 terrific local, national and international bands. This year's festival brought over a dozen different acts from Ireland, as well as several from Scotland, Canada and many other countries around the world.

Included in the celebration was a fantastic tribute concert to honor the late Tommy Makem. Crowds gathered for a lecture on this musical legend to support the Tommy Makem Cultural Legacy Fund, and many were brought to tears at the moving musical tribute led by Tommy's son and many friends.

In another special show, Cherish the Ladies invited seven Senior All-Ireland Champions on stage to be recognized. These tradition-bearers have kept Irish musical traditions alive and inspired other Irish Americans in keeping with this year's "Living Tradition" theme. They included Liz Carroll, Jimmy Keane, John Whelan, Joanie Madden, Eileen Ivers, Brian Conway and Billy McComiskey. The blockbuster Americana - Irish Style show was also a huge hit, featuring Scythian, We Banjo 3 and Eileen Ivers together on one stage.

We were honored to have "one of our own," long-time Irish Fest volunteer Fr. Michael Maher, S.J. as our celebrant for the Liturgy for Peace and Justice on Sunday morning. Many different elected officials from Ireland also attended including Minister of State Joe McHugh, representing Ireland's Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, as well as the mayors of County Clare, Galway City and County Mayo, among others. Jim Shannon, MP, was in attendance, representing DUP and Ulster Scots, as well as Mairtin O Muilleoir of Belfast Media Group and many other honored guests from throughout the world.

We are also pleased to report that we collected 41,000 pounds of food and $647.49 that was donated to the Hunger Task Force of Wisconsin. Hundreds of school supplies were collected and donated to Hope House of Milwaukee. We also hosted a very successful run-walk to help support the Arthritis Foundation.

More than 4,000 dedicated volunteers helped stage this great event, and we were able to honor many of them for their own 35 year anniversary of volunteering with us. Milwaukee Irish Fest continues to be considered a cultural gem in the greater Milwaukee area and is recognized worldwide as the premier celebration of all things Irish.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support and patronage as we celebrate 35 years of Irish music and culture. We hope that you will join us again August 18-21, 2016 for the next Milwaukee Irish Fest. I guarantee you will have a wonderful time!

Go raibh maith agaibh! 

Patrick Boyle
Milwaukee Irish Fest
Executive Director
Cheers to 35 years!

© 2015 Irish Festivals, Inc.
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