Seventh annual Iowa Irish Fest to draw crowd of thousands - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Seventh annual Iowa Irish Fest to draw crowd of thousands

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Irish culture in Iowa will be celebrated this weekend in downtown Waterloo.

Events are centered in Lincoln Park, with vendors throughout the downtown streets.

This is the "lucky" seventh year for the festival. An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 people will come to click their heels.

Iowa Irish Fest Director Rory Dolan said this is a celebration that draws people from not only the state, but also from across the country.

"Last year, when we tracked zip codes, we had people from 37 different states and from six different countries come to the festival," Dolan said. "So we're hoping to get up to 40 states this year."

Jameson's Irish Pub said this is its busiest weekend out of the entire year. To prepare for the large crowd, it's fully stocked with Irish beers and whiskeys. It will also have its Irish breakfast Sunday morning.

The Irish culture isn't the only one festival goers will experience at the party. German pub Volks Haus said it was swamped during last year's Irish Fest, and is happy to add a little German fare to the mix.

"We're gonna serve our brats and German potato salad, embrace our German heritage, and enjoy the Irish Fest and all the wonderful people that show up for it," said manager Mary Hubert.

Some new additions to this year's celebration include a new cultural events center where the Irish stew cook-off will be held. A children's theater, along with plenty of games and activities, will keep the children entertained. Red Hot Chili Pipers is also a new band that will share the stage this year.

The festival begins at 4 p.m. Friday and ends at 4 p.m. Sunday. Event passes are $15 with food and drink tickets available for purchase inside the event.

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