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Peoria Irish Fest Gets Green Light After COVID-19 Cancellation

Organizers announced Thursday the annual Peoria Irish Fest in Riverfront Park will return this August.
Peoria Irish Fest
Organizers announced Thursday the annual Peoria Irish Fest in Riverfront Park will return in August.

One of Peoria's larger annual outdoor summer events is officially returning this year.

Organizers of the Peoria Irish Fest, also called “Erin Feis,” announced Thursday the annual cultural celebration is “definitely” set for the final weekend of August after COVID-19 forced a cancellation last year.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are, honestly. We worked hard last year and weren’t able to have a festival,” said Entertainment Chair Tom McConnaughay. “This year we’ve worked all year long planning for this and we’re just really thrilled to bring it to people.

“It’s an outdoor festival, and people — even if they’re still a little worried about pandemic issues — will still be comfortable coming.”

In a statement announcing the event’s return, event co-chair John Martin said organizers are “relieved and thankful” for having the ability to present a full fest.

McConnaughay said having the Irish Fest put on hold along with everything else during the pandemic shutdown was somewhat deflating.

“We obviously understood and we had to be safe, but it was still hard to have to cancel last year,” he said. “We decided to keep planning for this year, and we were encouraged as vaccines became available. Then as the state has opened up, we’ve been feeling even more confident about it and now we’re ‘all systems go.’”

The three-day weekend celebration will take place Aug. 27-29 in Peoria's Riverfront Park. McConnaughay said the event will feature three music stages and one dance stage.

“We think that people who’ve been cooped up for the last year or more will be very excited to come out and have some fun,” he said. “There’s lots of room to spread out and we’ve got lots of things going on, so we think it’s going to be very popular as people get more comfortable coming out again.”

More information and discounted advance tickets are available at PeoriaIrishFest.com.

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.