Music, dancing, food, drink, and red hair – all will be in great supply at the 23rd annual Boston Irish Festival, held at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton.
Headlining this year’s festival will be Grammy Award winning fiddler Eileen Ivers, Celtic rock band Black 47, and Searson, a trio of Irish step dancing sisters.
The festival is the reason for the Centre building’s existence, according to executive director Mary McTigue.
“It was originally at Stonehill College,” McTigue said. “It was started by a group of people who wanted to build a cultural center. It continued over the years to be one of our largest fundraisers we do annually.”
About 10 years ago, that dream was realized when the 46-acre property at 200 New Boston Drive in Canton was purchased.
The festival will be this Friday to Sunday at the Canton property and include music, food, and an attempt on the world record for most redheads gathered in one place.
“We didn’t break the world record last year, which is 906 redheads together, so we’re hoping for 1,000 redheads,” McTigue said. “And if we get 910, we’ll still break the record. That will be Saturday.”
Among the great features of the Irish Cultural Centre property are its large fields for Irish games. There will be Irish football matches and a tug-of-war competition.
Qualifying rounds for tug of war will be held Saturday with the championship on Sunday.
“It’s more about bragging rights than anything else,” McTigue said.
Back this year is the Irish Step Dancing competition, known as a Feis, which had taken an eight-year hiatus. Liam Harney, who has a step dance academy in Walpole, will be helping to put on the competition, which will be held on Saturday starting at 8:30 a.m.
Apart from the Feis, another morning activity will be a 5K run, which will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
Family events will continue throughout the weekend, according to McTigue.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to come down and learn a bit about, as we say, ‘All things Irish,’” McTigue said.
For more information, visit bostonirishfestival.info.