Irish Fest attracts out of towners - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Irish Fest attracts out of towners

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The fourth annual Irish Fest is wrapping up Sunday evening. A final day filled with entertainment and great food. But the festival has an impact on the City of Waterloo.

Dozens of plates with traditional Irish breakfast filled Jameson's Pub on Sunday morning.

"I took a bite of what I thought was a sausage and it turned out to be a potato," Jeremy Bloss said.

It's just one of the many events in this years Irish Fest in Waterloo. And it's the largest Irish celebration in the state.

"It just gives us a really good image across the state and across the Midwest. Last year we have people from seven different states," Mayor Buck Clark said.

And those people include the Bloss' from Columbia, Missouri.

"We love Gaelic Storm and we saw they were performing at an Irish festival, liked a lot of the other bands and the culture. Decided to come up here and spend the weekend seeing the festival and seeing what it's all about," Bloss said.

Which is exactly what city leaders intended. Last year more that 25,000 attending. This years early numbers are already looking higher. But the festival is mostly it's giving waterloo a chance to shine.

"It's a great opportunity for us to talk about the flood and also showcase our downtown. You know we are constantly suffering that image and that stigma that waterloo is not safe and it's down and dirty. And we're not," Clark said.

And based on the Bloss'' reaction to Waterloo, Irish Fest is working to attract people to Waterloo.

"My husband and I will definitely come back to the festival again and we have had a great time. It's not but 5 of 6 hours from Columbia so it's not too far a drive," Bloss said.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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