The 9th Annual Oshkosh Irish Fest returns to the Leach Amphitheater Saturday, June 10 from noon to 11 p.m. The Ultimate guide to Oshkosh Irish Fest 2017 has the info you need to know to have a fabulous time drinking, dancing, drinking, and maybe a little swinging of the hurley.
Admission: free until 6 PM. $8 after. children under 15 free, though there may be a small cost to participate in some of the Little Leprechaun Land activities.
Location: The Oshkosh Irish Fest is held at The Leach Amphitheater in Riverside Park, downtown Oshkosh, along the historic Fox River. 303 Ceape Ave, Oshkosh, WI
There are two paid lots adjoining the park, $6 per car. Free parking is available along city streets. We recommend carpooling or bicycling whenever possible.
What’s all happening: The festival will feature Irish entertainment and activities for the entire family. Highlights include world class Irish and Celtic music, Irish dancers, Irish vendors, a variety of cultural information displays, Little Leprechaun Land for the kids, the Fox Valley Irish Wolfhound Club, a .317K Irish Marathon (fun run) and demonstrations on some Irish sports.
Music and Irish dance lineup:
Jeff originally spent considerable time on the road in folk clubs and concerts all over England & Scotland playing & singing traditional songs of Ireland and Scotland . After Jeff and his family relocated to the Milwaukee area, he scratched the music itch again and was soon singing and playing all over the Midwest in pubs, clubs, concerts, festivals, including TV and radio. Over the past 18 years he has performed at some of the most prestigious Irish festivals throughout the Midwest, e.g. Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Peoria, and Minneapolis.
- 3:00 PM » Paddygrass
Paddygrass with lead singer Derek Byrne from Belfast, Ireland. He was good enough to tour with Riverdance for 7 years, he’s good enough for Oshkosh! We are so very pleased to have them!
Steeped in Irish music, dance and culture, David Curley, Pauline Conneely & Mick Broderick are renowned Irish musicians.Pauline founded the band Chicago Reel, has performed with Grammy nominated Liz Carroll, The Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies and many others. She has recently been awarded with Best Solo CD of the Year  by Irish American news. Dave is a multi-instrumentalist to go along with his velvet vocals and and a member of the award-winning bands SLIDE and RUNA. He’s performed with Grammy winner Moya Brennan, The Brock McGuire Band and others. Mick comes from one of the most well known musical families in the country; the Broderick’s of East Galway. He is now regarded as one of the finest exponents of the Irish bouzouki of his generation. With the band SLIDE both Dave and Mick have played at almost every major Irish Folk Festival throughout the U.S and Europe, and are now regarded as some of the finest exponents of Irish music worldwide. You won’t see these three musicians together anywhere else!
- 7:00 PM » Wild Colonial Bhoys
Wild Colonial Bhoys (WCB) is more than just an Irish band – they are an Irish American band. Theirs is like a blended whiskey: it’s a musical melding of both the old and the new, from the peat smoke scent of the ould sod to the can-do spirit that embodies the American dream. WCB’s started fourteen years ago. The lads who started as an Irish ballad-singing acoustic guitar duo have since matured into a Celtic rock tour-de-force and now have seven albums and thousands of miles behind them.
- 9:00 PM » The Elders
The Elders were founded in 1998 by six individuals with a passion for music rooted in Americana and Celtic folk rock. They are led by singer Ian Byrne, originally from Ireland. From the beginning The Elders seemed to be channeling something ancient and enduring – something unaffected by fads, trends and the giant maw of mind-numbing commercialism. Their ability to bring together the art of storytelling with elements both musically progressive and rooted in tradition, has won them a broad international fan base, as well as critical acclaim in numerous publications.
What to bring:
- Lawn Chairs or blankets (this park does not have seating)
- Credit Cards accepted
- Wheelchair (they do not have wheelchairs to rent)
- A thirsty stomach
Little Leprechaun Land
Enjoy a new scavenger hunt, contests, carnival type games with prizes and a children’s story telling session. The games will have a very small charge.
- 12-7 PM: Scavenger hunt
- 1-5 PM: Carnival style games
- 3 PM: Irish children’s story telling at the top of the hill in the gazebo.
- 4 PM: Red Head and Freckled Face Contest at the top of the hill in the gazebo.
0.317K Irish Marathon (Fun Run)
Signup at the festival anytime until 6 PM. Do this by yourself, with a friend or as a family.
Well, 3/17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, it’s only 0.317K but it will not be a walk in the park, well actually that’s more or less what it is. If you get lost (you won’t) you will be given a survival pint of beer or soda. We’ll even offer an Irish flag on a pole that you can take with you. You’ll be easy to spot this way! If and we say “IF” you finish (you will) this grueling (not at all) course you will be given an Olympic style medal to wear proudly. It comes with all of the bragging rights you want to bestow upon it. Includes a sticker a fun sticker to wear upon completion and some really fun oval stickers to put on your car bumper like all those other marathon runners do!
Dress in your favorite Irish outfit to make the run a truly fun Irish event!
What Else is Happening
Irish Marketplace: Oshkosh Irish Fest features numerous marketplace vendors offering a wide variety of products with an Irish/Celtic theme. From Kilts to shirts to photography to jewelry and anything in between, you are sure to find the perfect gift for you or someone else.
Cultural Tent: There will be a variety of displays illustrating many themes of Irish history and culture including the great potato famine, The Book of Kells, the Irish in the American civil war and a variety of other interesting topics. Come see a local Irish military history expert with some of his items from his private museum.
The Majestic Irish Wolfhounds: The Irish Wolfhound is a giant-sized dog with a commanding appearance, one of the tallest breeds in the world, reaching the size of a small pony. An old Irish proverb describes them perfectly: “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.” Learn about this Irish breed from their owners along with the dogs who promise not to be shy. See them roving around the grounds all afternoon.
Hurling – The Sport of the Ancients: Hurling is believed to be the world’s oldest field game and forefather of many of today’s most popular sports. When the Celts came to Ireland as the last ice age was receding, they brought with them a unique culture, their own language, music, script and unique pastimes. One of these pastimes was a game now called hurling. It is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years. Representatives from the Fox Valley Hurling Club will be onsite in their blue, orange and white uniforms to share with us this exciting sport. Join them by the hurling cage all afternoon for your opportunity to swing the hurley.
Currach Boats: Currach boats are an ancient type of Irish boat with a wooden frame, over which animal skins or hides were once stretched, though now canvas is more usual. The construction and design of the currach are unique to the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland, with variations in size and shape by region. Come see the Milwaukee Currach Club rowing during the afternoon on the waterway just outside of the Irish Fest grounds.
Pot O’ Gold Raffle: Oshkosh Irish Fest is once again holding a special raffle. Raffle tickets are only $5 or 5 chances for $20 and can be purchased from a committe member or during the festival at our concession or merchandise booths. Drawing is guaranteed no matter how many tickets are sold.
Fuel: Oshkosh Irish Fest will have a variety of food and beverages available for purchase, so come hungry and thirsty.
The Final Word: “You don’t have to be Irish to come to this festival and enjoy yourself; everyone is welcome,” said Jeff Propson, Irish Fest director. “This is a great opportunity to try Irish food and beverages, learn about the culture and listen to some wonderful, festive music.”
Oshkosh Irish Fest is produced by Oshkosh Festivals, Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization run completely by volunteers. Since our founding in 2009, we have raised over $140,000 for our local charity partners
(Photos courtesy of Oshkosh Irish Fest)